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August 23, 2010

Giovannetti: Choosing sides is nothing new

Quarterback controversies are never pretty.

Everybody has an opinion. Everybody's guy should be the guy. Everybody knows more than the coaches.

It's universal. It's timeless.

Let's face it; we've been choosing sides since Cain and Abel (everyone knew the sheep responded better to Abel).

Other position battles aren't nearly as sexy. All of us are looking for a story with more cachet -- quarterbacks has it. Why aren't we all choosing sides in the punter battle? See, my point is made.

There's always enough touches and carries to go around for the running backs and the receivers. Most of your average fans can't name the starters on the offensive line…the list goes on and on.

But the quarterback spot is different. We always have our guy.

I'm not immune, I can tell you without hesitation that I liked Roger Staubach over Craig Morton. And I remember vividly favoring Danny White over Gary Hogeboom.

Closer to home I've been a Joe Barnes man and I liked Rodney Allison over Tommy Duniven. And while everyone was clamoring for Robert Hall in 1990, I was holding out hope that Jamie Gill would keep the job.

We saw plenty of quarterback controversies under Mike Leach. Many fans thought B.J. Symons should have been more than a one hit wonder. Sonny Cumbie was vilified by a lot of you still posting on this board today -- how'd that work out for you? And Graham Harrell withstood several controversies and had the coin land on both sides, losing to Cody Hodges and fending off Chris Todd.

It doesn't take rocket science. There's one ball and one guy to distribute it, thus the ensuing bloodbath from the fan base. Leach's philosophy, and it appears to be shared by Tommy Tuberville, is that if you have two quarterbacks you don't really have a quarterback. Leach always wanted somebody to be the guy and Tuberville along with Neal Brown, at least on the surface, appears to feel the same way.

So back to the fan's perspective I can say without reservation that I get it. I get having a dog in the fight. I love horse racing because I can always find one that I like.

What I don't get is the denigration of the guy that wins the battle if he's not "your guy."

As some of you know, I get to spend my springs around the Tech baseball coaching staff. I laugh when I read or hear people read something into their decision making process -- playing favorites, repaying old debts, etc. These guys eat and sleep with these decisions; their livelihoods and their families well beings depend on them succeeding. To think they play anyone for any reason other than they think it gives them the best chance to win is ludicrous at best.

After hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours of film study, practice, reviewing game tapes from 2009 and everything else -- the coaches paid very handsomely to make these types of decisions -- opted for Taylor Potts.

I realize, they are not infallible. I realize just as much as the next guy what happened last season. And I also realize I don't have nearly the data in front of me that these guys have and certainly my job doesn't rely on who they picked.

Taylor Potts is as fine a young man as you'll ever meet. I'm a lifelong Red Raider and Potts is the kind of guy that makes you proud of your school. He didn't deserve the public thrashing he took last season and he doesn't deserve the reaction he's receiving now for the decision made by the coaching staff.

He went through a lot last season and how did he react?

He put on his helmet and went to work. He didn't run his mouth, he didn't play the sympathy card, and he just worked to get better.

To me that's the epitome of a true Texas Tech guy and someone easy to root for.

I'm pulling for Taylor just like I'd be pulling for Steven Sheffield if he got the nod. Again, I'm an old hand at these things and realize I'm on the outside -- those guys have to step out on the field. Something tells me Taylor is up for the challenge.

And this is from a guy who liked Abel over Cain.


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