Philip Montgomery will announce Zach Smith or Seth Boomer as Tulsa’s starting quarterback at some point between now and the Aug. 30 opener at Michigan State. Wednesday wasn’t that time.
“Those guys are in a great battle,” Montgomery said at a press briefing inside Chapman Stadium.
Boomer started the final eight games of TU’s 2018 season, completing 51 percent of his passes for 1,378 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions.
Smith sat out after transferring from Baylor, where he started 10 games over the Bears’ 2016 and ’17 seasons. He completed 56 percent of his passes for 1,526 yards, 21 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
One of them must seize control in order for the Hurricane to be truly effective.
TU’s defense is better, but it can’t shoulder the load. Not in an American Athletic Conference where you can play decent defense and still give up 35 points.
TU needs its offense to keep up. The quarterback must play closer to the level that Montgomery’s QBs did at Baylor and Houston before he moved to Tulsa. He must play closer to the level that Dane Evans reached in ’16, when the Hurricane won 10 games.
That TU slipped to a total of five wins the past two seasons, when quarterback play ranged from inconsistent to lackluster, is no coincidence.
The Hurricane can’t make up for a dismal throwing game by running the ball, even with backs as capable of 2019 weapons Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor. They can’t make up for it with defense.
Montgomery must have Smith or Boomer do their part. Just listen to his expectations for the 2019 offense:
“We’re looking to push the ball again,” he said Wednesday. “We’re looking to have the ability to spread it out sideline to sideline and vertically. That’s the plan going in. Now we’ve got to execute it and make those things happen.
“The only time you know you can do that consistently is doing it under the lights. We were showing some signs of that later in the year as we were on the practice field. Some of that started translating late in games, with some big throws in the SMU game that Seth made. He continued to grow.
“If you look at the spring game, there were some chances for some of those to happen and they did (Smith hit Keylon Stokes for a pair of 60-yard touchdowns).
“We’ve got to continue to keep pressing the envelope when it comes to that and getting back to who we really want to be and be fast and explosive in making those plays down the field.”
That’s on Smith or Boomer. That’s the identity of their offense,
That’s why it’s so important to keep tabs on their quarterback race.