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LSU-Bama Preview: Famous 2 QB Programs
Jarrett Lee; 1 of LSU's 2 QBs
Jarrett Lee; 1 of LSU's 2 QBs
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 1, 2011


LSU didn’t have a two quarterback system the last time it won the national championship in 2007 - Ryan Perrilloux played chiefly when Matt Flynn was injured. However, this season there’s no denying both Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson play important roles for the Tigers. CFN's Phil Harrison take a look at some other programs that used two QBs to great success.


By Phil Harrison

The two quarterback system. You either love it or hate it, and it's likely the slant on your opinion is determined by the varying degrees of success measured by a team near and dear to your heart. The old adage--if you have two quarterbacks then you really have none--is a polarizing concept that deserves some reflection.

This year’s version of the two quarterback approach is front and center in Baton Rouge, but what about other two quarterback teams in the annals of college football history. Here’s a look at some of the most famous, and most talented two QB approaches in recent memory (in chronological order). This is sure to not be all-encompassing, and not all situations make the cut because not all have left a lasting impression on the college football universe:

Joe Germaine and Stanley Jackson; Ohio State, 1996-1997, 1997-1998

Setting the stage:
Ohio State had just finished a back on the map year, just missing a shot at a national title with the likes of Heisman trophy winner Eddie George, QB Bobby Hoying, and Belitnikoff winner WR Terry Glenn. The task of replacing Bobby Hoying fell to two men, Stanley Jackson and Joe Germaine. While Germaine was the cool, composed pocket passer, Stanley Jackson played the part of the blue-chip hotshot that could beat teams mostly with his legs. It was the perfect change of pace for head coach John Cooper, and when neither man separated himself during spring ball, the plan evolved into a two QB system, and stayed that way, remarkably for two entire seasons.

The Seasons:
It worked fairly well. Both guys got plenty of playing time, and the team excelled no matter what QB nestled up under center. Cooper often played the hot hand, but clearly built a game plan around the QB that best represented the qualities needed for the defense each week. Had it not been for the annual right of losing to Michigan in both seasons, this two QB system may have been known for more. Still, both men contributed to a Rose Bowl win at the end of the 1996 season, and very successful 1997 season despite the pasting at the hands of Florida State in the Sugar Bowl. Of all the two QB seasons, this one may be the most even. All told, Joe Germaine got 54% of the pass attempts to Stanley Jackson’s 46%. Germaine threw for 3,040 yards over the two years, while Jackson threw for 2,353. Jackson also chipped in 355 yards on the ground over the same period.

The Lasting Impression:
Two things. First, the two losses to Michigan kept this team away from really big things. In both seasons, OSU was thick in the national title hunt only to be bumped out by the Wolverines. Both times, Jackson and Germaine contributed with costly mistakes that fatally wounded hopes at bigger things. These two games serve as a microcosm of the Jedi mind trick that the folks from Ann Arbor seemed to play on Cooper each year. Also memorable is the 1997 Rose Bowl in which both QBs provided highlight moments--the climax coming when Joe Germaine connected with David Boston for a nine yard TD at the end of the game to ruin the national title aspirations of a Jake Plummer led Arizona State team. It still is known as one of the greatest Rose Bowl games ever. Rest in peace Pat Tillman.

Doug Johnson and Noah Brindise; Florida, 1997-98

Setting the stage:
This doesn’t qualify for a two quarterback year, but it does make the grade for the one game it was used. For all intents and purposes, this was Doug Johnson’s team. The Gators had just lost Heisman trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, and Johnson was anointed the next great one to take the reigns of the “ole ball coach’s” fun-and-gun offense. He was the starter....end of story right?

The Season:
The season was a relative success with the Gators claiming the number one spot in the polls until things hit a sour note in losses to LSU and Georgia to put the national title out of reach. For the year, Doug Johnson was adequate enough, completing 55 percent of his passes for 2,023 yards to go along with 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. It wasn’t the season that everyone remembers most though, it is the one game against arch-rival Florida State.

The Lasting Impression:
The Seminoles came into the swamp ranked number one and heavily favored. Spurrrier, in one of his defining moments, used a two quarterback game plan, alternating Doug Johnson with little used Noah Brindise. The final stats for the game--Johnson, 13 for 25 for 218 yards, and Brindise, 5 for 9 for 100 yards. The move clearly confused the FSU defense and set the stage for a huge upset 32-29--spoiling the Seminoles national title hopes, and forever cementing this game as a classic two QB win.

Tom Brady and Drew Henson; Michigan, 1999-2000

Setting the stage:
This really started in the 1998 season, one season removed from a national championship for the maize and blue. Contrary to popular belief however, this was Tom Brady’s team in 1998. As the team turned the page to 1999 however, it all started with a heated quarterback battle that would go on for the entire year. Tom Brady was the elder statesman that had a solid grasp of the offense and could manage the efficient game plans of the Michigan offense. Drew Henson was a Michigan Prep icon with all the tools and hype to push anyone for more playing time--He was thought to be the eventual cornerstone of the program.

The Season:
Brady started every game, but the Michigan coaches continued to feel the pressure to play the uber-talented Drew Henson. The game plan generally consisted of the future NFL hall of famer staring the game, Henson playing the second quarter, and the hot hand getting the benefit of the doubt to end each contest (which more often than not was the clutch Brady). For the year, Brady went 214 for 341 (62.8%), for 2,586 yards, with 20 TDs and six INTs. By contrast, Drew Henson showed at 47 for 90 (52.2%) for 546 yards, with three TDs and two INTs. If it weren’t for two close losses in the middle of the season at Michigan State (31-34) and against Illinois (29-35), this team could have been even more memorable. The team finished the season on an extremely high note however, beating No. 5 Alabama 35-34 in the Orange Bowl.

The Lasting Impression:
Tom Brady’s flowing locks. What else? Looking back on it, the fact that Drew Henson was even considered to replace Tom Brady as the starter seems like bad coaching all around. Still, Henson had his moments while Brady showed plenty of clutch moments throughout they year. It would obviously be a foreshadowing of things to come as “Terrific Tom” will go down as one of the all-time greats. Drew Henson, on the other hand, had his spotlight as the Michigan starter in 2000, but in an ironic twist, his career fell hard and fast trying to pursue professional baseball in, of all places, the shadow of Ohio Stadium as a Yankees farmhand in Columbus. Giving up on baseball, he never panned out in a few burned out attempts in the NFL.

Chris Leak and Tim Tebow; Florida, 2006-2007

Setting the stage:
Urban Meyer was in his second season at Florida trying to pick up the pieces of the Ron Zook era and Chris Leak was ending a rather un-fulfilling career as a senior. Pushing Leak for playing time was the start of Tebow mania. Leak was the more polished passer, but Tim Tebow was the bulldozing, fiery, wrecking-ball that was utilized as more of a change of pace runner in Meyer’s spread-option attack.

The Season:
Florida started out hot and reeled off six straight wins to start the season. It became evident just two games in that Tim Tebow would be a big part of the short yardage offense, and change of pace QB that could provide an additional running threat. Chris Leak started every game and finally thrived under the wide open attack that Meyer brought to Gainesville. Florida seemed to be out of the national title hunt midway through the season when it lost at Auburn, but the game plan of utilizing both QBs continued to thrive, and the Gators gladly rode the situation all the way through a victory against Arkansas in the SEC championship game. Leak got a Gator’s feast of passing attempts, going 232 for 365 (63.6%) for 2,950 yards, with 23 TDs and 13 INTs. Tebow on the other hand, finished as the team’s second leading rusher by toting the mail 89 times for 469 yards (5.3 avg). True to form, he chipped in eight TDs in goal-line type situations. The season culminated in a dominating performance over a Troy Smith led Ohio State team in Glendale for a national title.

The Lasting Impression:
This could arguably be known as the most famous two QB system in recent memory since it brought home the hardware and started the current run of dominance by the SEC. It was also a flag-planting statement for Urban Meyer and the Florida program with Tebow at the helm. The Gators would go on to win another national title before Meyer moved on to greener pastures in the broadcast booth, and Tim Tebow took his talents to mile high heights. The SEC has taken off with five straight national titles, and the Big Ten-- largely because of a scarlet-and-grey-desert-flop are now perceived as miles apart, both geographically and talent-wise.

As we now fast forward back to all things 2011, how will this year’s two QB system currently being orchestrated by the mad-hatter be remembered? Will Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson provide the fodder for a memorable partnership, or will it be one of irreconcilable differences. Tune in this Saturday to hear the first argument, and be ready to judge from there.

The countdown continues....

Follow Phil on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN


Sunday
LSU-Bama Preview: Who is QB AJ McCarron?
Monday
LSU-Bama Preview: The Tiger Offense
LSU-Bama Preview: The Tide Offense
LSU-Bama Preview: Bama's "New" Stadium
Point/Counterpoint: McCarron v. Mathieu et al
Tuesday
LSU-Bama Preview: The Tiger Defense
LSU-Bama Preview: The Tide Defense
LSU-Bama Preview: Life Without Julio
Point/Counterpoint: LSU's QBs v. Bama's D