There Isn’t a QB Controversy in Houston, but Should There Be?

There is no quarterback controversy at the University of Houston.

If you don’t believe me, just ask coach Tony Levine. And plenty of people have.

After the shocking loss to UTSA Friday night, Levine had a short and terse answer to a reporter’s question: “Yes, we’re going to stick with John (O’Korn).”

At his weekly press conference leading up to the Grambling State game, the question was asked again. This time Levine had a little more to say on the subject: ““I think he’s shown everyone that he’s got the ability, the talent and a right to be confident.”

So Levine is saying one thing, but his actions on the field Friday night set a much different tone, and set him up for these questions being asked.

In the fourth quarter O’Korn, who just wasn’t having a good game, was benched in favor of senior Junior College transfer Billy Cosh. All Cosh did was lead Houston down the field for the Cougars’ only scoring drive of the game.

Sure, the result wasn’t in doubt by that point, but the timing of the decision is curious if not telling. O’Korn had thrown for a career-high four interceptions and completed less than half his passes. The offensive line was dreadful and the problems up front no doubt played a role in O’Korn’s troubles, but here’s the thing; O’Korn is a young player in the first game of the season, so wouldn’t you want your guy to get as many reps as possible in game action?

Instead Levine went to the bench for Cosh, sparking what some are already calling a controversy in Houston. It was one of the first topics posted on a Houston fan page after Friday night’s game.

And it’s not like Cosh is some fly-by-night freshman who just walked onto campus. Cosh came to Houston from Butler County Community College in Kansas. Butler is known as a quarterback goldmine. In just the last 10 years, players went from BCCC to start at LSU (Zach Mettenberger, who was drafted this year), Nebraska, Marshall and currently at Connecticut. Last season Cosh led Butler County to a Junior College National Championship, throwing for over 2,800 yards and 25 touchdowns.

If you believe Coach Levine, and there is no reason for O’Korn not to be confident in his role as Houston’s starting quarterback, the question remains why not let O’Korn get the necessary reps against live competition?

This week O’Korn and the Cougars should have zero trouble against Grambling State. That program is simply a disaster and got picked apart by Lamar in its opening game. The schedule certainly gets tougher from there, so if O’Korn does have struggles for any reason, Levine has certainly laid the groundwork for a quarterback controversy to fester the rest of the season – even though Billy Cosh played only one series Friday night.

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