Despite junior Austin Dantin taking the vast majority of snaps for the last two weeks, University of Toledo coach Tim Beckman maintained Monday that the Rockets are still a two-quarterback team.
Beckman said the plan against Eastern Michigan on Saturday is to follow the same formula of splitting reps behind center that the Rockets have had all season, even though they deviated from that plan last Saturday in a 36-13 win at Temple.
Sophomore Terrance Owens was scheduled to relieve Dantin on the fourth possession against the Owls, but because of the offense’s hot start, they opted to leave Dantin in for the duration of the contest.
That’s not necessarily a sign of things to come, however.
“We just felt the way the game was going at that time that it was best to stay with Austin,” Beckman said. “They’ll compete [this week] just as we do at every position.”
Owens played just two series against Syracuse two weeks ago after suffering a back injury during the first quarter, leaving Dantin to finish out that game as well.
“We know what T.O. is capable of doing,” Beckman said. “Heck, he’s fifth in passing efficiency in the conference, so we know he can be successful. And so can Austin.”
Owens said he wasn’t bothered by the coaches’ decision to stick with Dantin against Temple and will be supportive of whatever role they have for him going forward.
“I was expecting to play, but the coaches felt more comfortable with Austin staying out there and keeping him in a rhythm, and I [supported that] 100 percent,” Owens said. “Of course, everybody wants to play, but I’ll do whatever it takes for us to win. If that’s me helping out on the sideline and calling signals, I’ll do it.”
MOLLS STILL OUT: Junior middle linebacker Danny Molls will not play against Eastern Michigan while continuing to heal from an undisclosed lower leg injury, Beckman said, and senior running back Adonis Thomas (broken arm) also won’t play against the Eagles.
Molls has sat out the last four games since injuring his leg in practice during the week of the Ohio State game early last month, but Beckman said he’s not considering redshirting Molls at this point.
“I’ve talked long and hard with Danny about this also,” Beckman said. “[Redshirting him] is not in our mind. In our mind right now is, how can we win a MAC championship?
“We’ve got incredible opponents coming up, starting with the one this weekend, so if it comes down to a point and he’s healthy and can help us win a championship, Danny Molls would be the first guy to jump in there and want to play.”
BELL, PAGE HONORED: Junior linebacker Robert Bell and junior wide receiver Eric Page were both honored Monday for their efforts against Temple.
Bell was named the MAC West Division defensive player of the week after posting a career-high 12 tackles, including 2½ tackles for a loss, and one fumble recovery.
Bell led a defensive effort that kept a potent Temple rushing attack out of the end zone and Bernard Pierce, the MAC’s leading rusher, to just 75 yards on 24 carries.
“It’s a great feeling to win that award,” Bell said, “but it’s really a complete defense award. It’s not just my award.”
Page was named to the Paul Hornung Award honor roll for the third time in the last four weeks after throwing for a touchdown and running for a two-point conversion, in addition to his duties as a wideout and return man.
The Hornung Award is given annually to the most versatile player in college football.
Page is also six receptions away from becoming the school’s all-time leading pass catcher.
“There’s just so many things that Eric does,” Beckman said. “But it’s not about Eric Page, and that’s exactly what Eric Page is like. He’s humble and understands that it’s about this team.
“He’s going to set a record, and he’ll have no idea that he set that record. He just wants to make sure we win.”
Contact Zach Silka at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @ZachSilka.