Having rewatched the game, reread everything I could find on the quarterbacks this year, and having watched Coach Weis' press conference multiple times, I think I am starting to get a grasp on the quarterback controversy.
Clausen is our starting quarterback. And probably will be going forward. His rehab disrupted his ability to rep with the first team during training camp, which meant that he couldn't play himself into the starting position during camp. He is 100% now, but wasn't 100% until very recently.
Sharpley is not good. I've been saying this for a long time, but he was kept in the mix because he does have a decently strong arm. And without Clausen available to throw the ball, Weis needed someone who could throw the ball around. And this is because...
Jones is not a quarterback. He's a decent running back, and probably a better receiver. But he can't throw the ball. If he was the passing quarterback with legs that everyone claimed he was, Weis would have used him to run his offense. But instead, Coach Weis planned on using Sharpley to run the 2-minute offense or if he needed a more pass heavy offense. Weis has all but admitted that Jones is useless as a passer.
Part of me can understand why Weis handled this game the way he did regarding the quarterbacks. I can understand how he would be uncomfortable starting a QB that has had only days to rep woth the first team. And hindsight is 20/20.
But he was simply wrong for choosing to start Demetrius Jones. Jones may be a very good athlete, but you cannot win a game in this league without a passing threat. And instituting a whole new offensive package for Jones on top of the existing playbook is just one more thing for this young inexperienced team to have to deal with.
I agree that he couldn't, with any credibility, start Clausen if he hadn't been practicing and earning the respect of his teammates, especially as a true freshman. A true freshman with a (deserved or not) reputation as a kid with a ridiculous diva complex and sense of entitlement.
So he should have started Sharpley. Have Sharpley run the offense he designed for Clausen, and let Clausen work his way into the starting job. If we do that, we may be able to stay in today's game (although there are so many other breakdowns, I'm not sure the QB would have made the difference). More importantly, it gives the team an identity and a direction. Everyone knows what we are doing, and the team can focus on the gameplan. As in one. Rather than having what amounts to two different gameplans grafted onto one another.
I hope that once the dust settles and cooler minds prevail, that Weis will do what is best for this team, and name Clausen the starter. Use his iron fist and crush anyone who has a problem with it. Name Sharpley as the backup and scrap the entire spread option offense package and with it any hope that Demetrius will be back under center. Give DJ the option to switch positions, or release him from his scholarship after the season so he can pursue a starting job elsewhere. Take the lumps with the true freshman, and let him earn his team's confidence on the field, like Brady Quinn had to.
If he does this, I'm willing to accept that we'll struggle as Clausen develops chemistry with a team he hasn't repped with. I'll forgive the losses to Penn State and Michigan (which at this point are practically a foregone conclusion - Michigan will have bounced back from their far more embarassing loss to Div. I-AA Appalachian State by the time we roll into town). But this team will have an identity, a direction, and a plan to get there.
Preseason is over, coach. Get your shit together.