Miami Searches For QB And Answers In 2013
By Jon Coffey
If you look at almost any record pertaining to quarterbacks at Miami (OH) you’ll see two names: Ben Roethlisberger and Zac Dysert.
One name you will not see on that list is Austin Boucher.
Roethlisberger had an exceptional career at Miami before being drafted in 2004 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he eventually won two Super Bowls.
Dysert, after being drafted 234th overall by the Denver Broncos in April, thus far, has followed suit.
In just 10 years, these two quarterbacks have come to make starting at quarterback for Miami a prestigious position — breaking records, garnering national attention and becoming one of a handful of MAC players to make it to the NFL.
Anyone who ever plays quarterback for the Redhawks will not only be measured by his college career success but also will endure the added pressure of being compared to one potential NFL Hall of Famer and another with the potential for an NFL career, both of whom happened to play at Miami.
Naturally, the question has become: who will try to fill those shoes in 2013?
This is where Boucher comes into the picture.
The redshirt senior enters his final year at Miami as the frontrunner to take over the starting job under center — that is if head coach Don Treadwell decides to go with a player he knows he’ll only have for one year.
The problem for Miami is that, after back-to-back four-win seasons, the program is under intense scrutiny and will be expected to finish at a more respectable mark in their upcoming campaign.
As the only quarterback on the roster who has started a game for Miami, Boucher seems like the natural first option. But after seeing the field only in relief of Dysert and attempting just 23 passes during the last two seasons, Boucher holds little advantage over the eager (and younger) options below him on the depth chart.
If it weren’t for the need to win now to pacify his skeptics, it would make a lot of sense for Treadwell to explore various alternatives at quarterback to ensure solid production and leadership for the next three or four years, and he may take a chance and do that. But with his job potentially on the line, that would be a gutsy gamble.
The key element in this equation is Boucher’s body of work as a starter.
In 2010, Dysert suffered a lacerated spleen, forcing the Redhawks to turn to then-redshirt freshman Boucher for the team’s final two regular-season games. With the short-term starting job, Boucher led his team to three wins to close out the regular season, including the Mid-American Conference title game in which Miami took down then-ranked No. 25 Northern Illinois. Before handing the starting job back to Dysert, Boucher led Miami to a 35-21 victory over Middle Tennessee State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl to end the 2010-11 campaign.
During his time as a starter, Boucher led Miami to a 4-0 record and threw for 990 yards and five touchdowns. He also averaged a completion percentage of 61.6 over that span.
As Treadwell said during his introduction as Miami’s head coach in 2011, “One thing championship teams do is embrace change.”
With the potential that top receiver Nick Harwell could remain suspended for the duration of the 2013 season, it seems the future of the Redhawks' quarterback position, like that of the rest of the team, remains subject to change.