Untitled sponsor
GoVols Vols logo
HELP
CONTACT US
SITE MAP
FANATICZONE.com -- click here!
Men's sports
BASEBALL
BASKETBALL
COLUMNISTS
FOOTBALL
OTHER SPORTS
RECRUITING
GoLadyVols.com
Get the latest news on the Lady Vols.
CHAT
FORUMS
VOLS FAN STORE
VOLS BOOKSTORE
ACTIVE CHANNEL
DESKTOP THEME
CUSTOM BROWSER
DANIEL CARTOONS
PROCTOR CARTOONS
SUBMIT A LINK
SITE SEARCH

Shop here today!

Dim T/Consumer Market


Send this page
to a friend!
Enter an e-mail address:
Enter your name:

columnists
G A R Y    L U N D Y

FORUMS | CHAT | PRINT THIS STORY

Cornhuskers overcome an early QB controversy

LUNDY
EMAIL
ARCHIVE
By Gary Lundy News-Sentinel sportswriter
December 29, 1999

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Tennessee quarterback signees Casey Clausen and John Rattay should meet Nebraska's Eric Crouch and Bobby Newcombe.

They need to know how a quarterback controversy ended happily.

They need to know how Crouch and Newcombe overcame frustration and disappointment to lead Nebraska to an 11-1 record and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl against Tennessee.

It's inevitable that UT's unsettled quarterback situation next season is going to produce the same kind of emotional peaks and valleys as it did at Nebraska this season. No matter how you might try to sugar-coat it, feelings are going to get hurt when UT's coaches make a choice between Clausen, Rattay, Joey Mathews and A.J. Suggs.

It wouldn't be surprising if one quarterback goes home and at least thinks about transferring. Crouch did that in early September after Newcombe was named Nebraska's starting quarterback.

As quarterback controversies go, this one was a doozy.

Crouch's mother told the Omaha World-Herald she was livid when a Nebraska state senator called her son "Crybaby Crouch" because he returned to Omaha to talk to his family and high school coach about his future.

Hey, that's all UT coach Phillip Fulmer needs is for some politician in Nashville to go off half-cocked about who should take the snaps for the Vols next fall. See what we have to look forward to? The statewide scrutiny will be intense.

In the middle of all this mess at Nebraska, Jay Runty, the No. 3 quarterback last season, bailed out. He transferred to the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

"There was a lot of tension between players in fall camp, especially the first two weeks," Crouch said Tuesday.

"There were a lot of emotions running through a lot of people. Every time you came to meetings you wondered what was going to be the next deal. It was tough for everybody, players moving positions and not happy with where they were on the depth chart."

Crouch, who was in the same signing class as Newcombe in 1997, was devastated in late August because he wasn't named the starter.

"There are always thoughts going through your mind about what you want to do," he said. "Maybe there's a better place for you, maybe not. I just weighed the pros and cons of everything and it just seemed like this was the best place for me to play football."

Nebraska coach Frank Solich did some hand-holding and reassured Crouch that he would be a big part of the offense. Crouch finally decided it would be better to play wingback or receiver than to sit on the bench. He backed up Newcombe at quarterback.

In the second game of the season against California, he ran for two touchdowns, passed for one and caught a pass for another score. The next week, he was named the starter and Newcombe was moved to wingback.

Newcombe said his heart was still at quarterback, but he accepted the decision. In fact, he was the one who went to the coaches and suggested the change.

"Both of us were real frustrated at the time," Crouch said. "That's just part of being a competitor and an athlete.

"If you look back at all the things that happened at the beginning of the year and said we would go 11-1, I don't think I would have believed it.

"It has made a world of difference since everything has settled down."

At Nebraska maybe the dust has settled, but at Tennessee it's just beginning to swirl around four guys named Clausen, Rattay, Mathews and Suggs.

In-depth columnists
John Adams
Maria M. Cornelius
Dan Fleser
Mike Griffith
Gary Lundy
Mike Strange

VOLS FAN STORE
Big Orange Thermometer
Check the temperature outside in big orange style!
SHOP NOW >>

e.w._scripps_co. © 1999-2000 The E.W. Scripps Company
Users of this site are subject to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement.

GoVols.com is a product of The Knoxville News-Sentinel and is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by The University of Tennessee.