From the childish category of my-dad-can-beat-up-your dad, here’s a question for you.
If in a charity football game you had to name a quarterback to save the day in the fourth quarter, and if that quarterback had to be one of the head coaches from Florida’s major college football teams, which one would you pick?
Here’s my order.
- Scott Frost, Central Florida – He’s 41, which helps, and he’s 6-foot-3, which hurts anyone trying to tackle him. Most importantly, Frost quarterbacked Nebraska to a share of the national championship in 1997. Michigan won the AP title. The 13-0 Cornhuskers, led by Frost’s three touchdown runs, beat Peyton Manning and Tennessee 42-17 to win the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Poll.
- Willie Taggart, South Florida – He’s 39, finishing up his career at Western Kentucky in 1998 as a four-year starter at quarterback. Was an All-America at the I-AA level and a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, which honors the top offensive player in that division. Payton, by the way, played at Jackson State so don’t underestimate small-school talent.
- Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – He’s 50 and still pretty spry. Bounced around a bit after high school before landing at Samford, where he was the Div. III Player of the Year in 1987. Played a little Arena Football League, too, after getting his college coaching from Terry Bowden. Maybe you’ve heard of Terry’s dad.
- Mark Richt, Miami – The oldest of our contestants at 56, he was a star quarterback at Boca Raton High School and led the Bobcats into the state playoffs. A backup to Jim Kelly at Miami, he completed 45 percent of his passes over a four-year Hurricanes career with nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Finished in 1982, one year before Howard Schnellenberger’s national title team.
- Jim McElwain, Florida – He’s 54. Played a little quarterback at Eastern Washington in the early 1980’s but gave up his senior season of eligility to pursue a more promising career as a graduate assistant coach. Good multi-sport star in high school back home in Montana.
Can’t rank Charlie Partridge of FAU here because he played defensive line at Drake. FIU’s Ron Turner was a receiver at Pacific.
Tell the truth, though, I’d like to stretch this imaginary category a bit further if it’s a matter of winning or losing, and when isn’t it?
Give me Steve Spurrier off the bench at Florida. Of course, he’s going to need a clean pocket. The ol’ ballcoach doesn’t get around like he used to, but he’s still crazy competitive.