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Many concerns were eased by the 54 point shellacking Boston College laid on Northeastern last Saturday, but one question started to loom over the game during the middle of the second quarter. Which quarterback will line up behind center this year: redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle or the ex-minor leaguer David Shinskie?
Both put up decent numbers (Shinskie was 7-10, 110 yards, TD while Tuggle was 3-5, 56 yards, TD), but Boston College played two different styles depending on whoever was in the game.
Tuggle constantly lined up in a shotgun position with running backs on either side, reminiscent of the Steve Logan offense of yesteryear. He created time with his feet and made a picture perfect throw down the right sideline to the much-improved Colin Larmond. Tuggle also showed a tendency to scramble when someone pressured the pocket, à la Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor. This isn’t exactly a compliment when you look at Taylor’s two touchdowns and seven interceptions last year as the starter. Nevertheless, Justin Tuggle turned in a pretty good grade considering new Offensive Coordinator Gary Tranquill only called five passes for him and his rhythm became disrupted by the substitution patterns.
Shinskie, on the other hand, played under center with Lars Anderson at FB along with Josh Haden or Montel Harris in the back of the I-formation. Tranquill is more familiar with this style which could help Shinskie in the long run. Shinskie displayed complete confidence in his arm, throwing passes in relatively tight spots over the middle. Yet this confidence may be a tad overstated. His touchdown pass to Flutie sailed over Flutie’s head and even the Northeastern safety backpedaled looking for a pick before Flutie incredibly jumped backwards and snatched it. He also lacks any mobility whatsoever and most ACC linebackers would have intercepted his cross field heave to Josh Haden after he rolled out of the pocket on a third and long.
In the postgame press conference, Tuggle and Shinskie never made eye contact and nervously twitched for the five minutes they were forced to sit together. This quarterback by committee situation is clearly not favored by Tuggle who summed it up with, “It is what it is.” In fact, Tuggle did not favor Shinskie talking during the press conference as he took the majority of the questions despite the reporter asking for two answers. By contrast, Shinskie looked very comfortable in the spotlight. He took the questions directed towards him and shrugged off those surrounding the starting position. Head Coach Frank Spaziani also acknowledged the quarterback race but stated that no one made any play that made Spaz think “This is our man.”
BC fans wish this situation would play out like Haden and Harris did last season, who switched his number to two so that they could literally be called a “one-two” combo. For now, Boston College needs to content itself with a Tuggle/Shinskie controversy until the Golden Flashes of Kent State show up next week.