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The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Make a decision, avoid playing 2 quarterbacks

ULM Athletics

The quarterback position has been the most turbulent area on this Warhawk team. 

Despite Jiya Wright starting all but one game this season, ULM has fielded three different quarterbacks. Terry Bowden surprisingly debuted Blake Murphy, a true freshman, early in Saturday’s eventual loss to Georgia Southern. Coming off the opening drive that resulted in a touchdown, no one except the ULM sideline expected Bowden to do anything except keep feeding the hot hand. 

Bowden’s experiment produced results — the two combined for over 400 yards passing — but it’s concerning to have no true answer at the offense’s most essential position. 

Wright hasn’t received overwhelming support from the staff. He took the start in the season opener, but by the second half, he was pulled in favor of Hunter Herring. Next week, Herring took the starting job. Herring broke his collarbone late in the game, and Jiya’s been starting since then.

If Wright isn’t the guy to stay in at QB, then the staff needs to be concrete and make a decision.

Wright’s career game against Appalachian State has been an outlier so far; he hasn’t performed at that standard since. He scored more touchdowns against App State (5) than he has combined through his five other starts this season (3).

Murphy showed he lived up to his high school resume as one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. His 54-yard touchdown pass near the end of the first half showed off his arm, and he’s quick on his feet. In this option-heavy offense, he’s a solid fit. He’s still green and had a few giveaways, including the fate-sealing pick six, but Wright did too. 

Bowden said he expects Murphy to play more this season. Opponents now have film to scout against him, but if he overcomes an opposing defensive game plan, it’d be wise to ride out the season with him.

Committing to Murphy can instill confidence in the freshman QB. One game isn’t enough to determine a franchise player, but he didn’t earn big reps in practice by happenstance. With the transfer portal an option, showing players that the team believes in them enough to be a starter might be enough to stave off the thoughts of transferring out.

It’s been over a month since the Warhawks have put a W next to their name. Exploring options at an inconsistent position shows a willingness to adapt and improve. At 2-5, ULM’s been on the unfavorable side of many late-game scenarios. A bowl bid is likely out of the equation, barring an unprecedented run to close the season. But ULM can still vie for the first non-4-8 season in Bowden’s tenure.

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    DavidOct 24, 2023 at 10:20 am

    Agreed!!! Make a decision and let them get acclimated to the process and game play. This roulette game with QB is dangerous and is going to get a player injured. This is not a player issue!