Instead of getting a reprieve and a pat on the back, the junior quarterback learned that his seemingly never-ending position battle with sophomore Terrance Owens is just getting started.
Just three days before his team’s season-opener, UT coach Tim Beckman named Dantin as the Rockets’ starting QB Monday but then quickly added that both he and Owens will see time in pre-planned situations Thursday against New Hampshire. There’s a possibility that redshirt freshman Dwight Macon might also see his first game action as well.
“Austin will take the first snap,” Beckman said, “and T.O. will play in the game [also]. We really feel comfortable with both quarterbacks.”
Beckman was noncommittal about Dantin remaining as the Rockets’ starting QB after the first game. He has indicated that he will rotate the two signal callers for at least the first two games against New Hampshire and Ohio State.
Earlier Monday on the Mid-American Conference coaches teleconference, Beckman said he would like to see a starter emerge by the time Boise State comes to town for a Sept. 16 matchup at the Glass Bowl.
Later in the day at his weekly news conference, Beckman said it may take the entirety of the nonconference schedule for one of the two quarterbacks to solidify himself at the position.
“We’ll see who’s being the most successful [against] some pretty good football teams that we play against in these first four football games,” Beckman said.
“We want to put them under fire and see how they do under fire, and then make some more decisions from there.”
As for what Dantin did to at least earn himself the first snap against New Hampshire, Beckman said Dantin has remained at the top of the depth chart since he won the job coming out of fall camp last year.
“Austin was always the starter,” Beckman said. “An injury will never take you [away] from being a starter.”
Dantin’s shoulder/collarbone injury suffered at Eastern Michigan in Week 9 last season opened the door for Owens, though, to make a case why he deserves some playing time.
After Dantin helped lead the Rockets to a 6-3 record before being sidelined, Owens went 2-2 as a starter and nearly championed a late comeback over Florida International in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
That has left the UT coaching staff with a quandary that doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.
“We’ve already got [the QB rotation] planned. The players know when they’re [each] going to be in and what time they’re going to be in the football game. The offense knows exactly what’s going to be done at quarterback,” Beckman said without detailing how exactly both will be utilized.
“Why not, if you can be successful doing it — and we feel we can — make a defense prepare for two different guys?”
Both quarterbacks took the news of Beckman’s decision in stride yesterday, with neither seeming overly excited or totally bummed.
“T.O.’s done a great job. He’s a great quarterback,” Dantin said. “I have the utmost respect for him, but regardless it’s always a great feeling being named the starter.”
“Really, I’m kind of disappointed but at the same time we’re all here trying to win a [Mid-American Conference] championship,” Owens said.
“I’m going to be supporting Austin and helping him out. I’ll do what I have to do and wait my turn to step up and help out the team.”
CAMERON OUT: Freshman center and Central Catholic graduate Kyle Cameron is currently sidelined with a concussion and is out indefinitely, Beckman said.
Cameron was already a strong candidate to redshirt this season anyhow, so Beckman said he’ll be held out of action for as long as necessary.
RADIO AFFILIATES: The Rocket radio network announced the addition of three new affiliates yesterday.
WOHF-92.1 FM in Bellevue will carry the broadcast of UT football games and a minimum of 20 men’s basketball games along with the weekly Rocket coaches’ show.
WBVI-96.7 FM in Fostoria and WMTR-96.1 FM in Archbold will broadcast select football and men’s basketball games.
Contact Zach Silka at: email@example.com or 419-724-6084.