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Pitt vs. Florida International: FIU likely to utilize two quarterbacks against Pitt


As I mentioned in the early Pitt-FIU preview, Florida International has used to quarterbacks this season - true freshman Alex McGough and junior E.J. Hilliard.

Hilliard started the season against Bethune-Cookman but was replaced eventually by McGough. McGough then started against Wagner this weekend, but Hilliard also saw a fair amount of time.

FIU coach Ron Turner spoke after the Wagner win and sure sounds like a man planning to play both against Pitt:

The Panthers used a two quarterback system with McGough splitting the snaps with junior E.J. Hilliard. Hilliard lost his starting job after struggling early against Bethune-Cookman last week, but made an improvement against Wagner. Hilliard was 14-of-15 for 169 yards.

When asked if he planned to keep the two quarterback system, Head Coach Ron Turner said, "I don’t see why not. I thought both of them stepped in and did some really good things. We’ve got a lot of confidence in both guys."

I've never been real high on two-quarterback systems unless it's because there are two very different guys that fit into specific roles - i.e. one is used on designed runs, options, etc. What you're really saying by playing two guys most of the time is that neither is good enough to be the full-time quarterback. And if that's the case, the team really isn't in that great of a situation.

In addition, playing two guys also makes it harder for one guy to develop a rhythm with receivers. Wideouts need to constantly remember how to adjust to each - particularly if one is significantly different, has a weaker arm, etc.

The flipside is that each guy is constantly pushing the other for playing time and that opposing teams have to prepare for two different players. Still, I've never been convinced that those benefits outweigh the comfort of having a single quarterback that can, you know, play.

Turner could be blowing smoke about using both guys, but since FIU has done that in each game so far, he's probably not.

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