Well this is a head-scratcher. After wrecking the 2016 season by starting 0-3 in AAC play, Tommy Tuberville has now decided to reverse course and start Gunner Kiel at QB this Saturday.
On Tommy Tuberville’s radio show last night, the Cincinnati football head coach announced that fifth year senior Gunner Kiel, who has been UC’s starting quarterback for all of the last two season when not injured, will make his first start of the season this Saturday night at 7:00 against the Pirates from East Carolina University.
Saying “It’s about damn time” isn’t really even a valid comment at this point. It was time two games ago.
The Bearcats have fallen to their lowest point since 2005, starting 0-3 in the American Conference, and effectively ending any chance at a league title after loss number two. The season has been plagued by many things, but particularly by poor QB play late in games. Sophomore Hayden Moore and freshman Ross Trail have combined to throw 8 TDs and 10 INTs in six starts this season, with only 4 of those touchdowns and 7 picks coming in the second halves of games. We’ve seen back-to-back second half meltdowns against Houston and South Florida, followed by a giant goose egg against UConn.
It has taken UC being outscored 64-6 in the second half of conference games for Tubs to finally admit that, “We’ve been having trouble scoring points,” and pull the trigger to make a change at QB to go with the talented but injury-prone senior.
Well, actually Tuberville wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger at all. On the radio show, Tuberville said that offensive coordinator Zac (“Ol’ Rough And Ready”) Taylor “Walked in [to Tuberville’s office] and said “Coach, Gunner Kiel has won the position.'” Tubs responded, “Let’s go.”
If your head just exploded, it’s okay. So did mine. A head coach is supposed to make the big decisions like, oh, let’s say, WHEN TO PUT IN YOUR SENIOR QUARTERBACK AND SAVE A SINKING SEASON. It’s a decision that should’ve been made after Ross Trail’s (understandably) shaky debut (he’s a freshman, folks). Hayden Moore was still not healthy, Trail wasn’t ready, and Tuberville could’ve righted the ship and put UC on the path to an East division title with a win over USF.
But that, of course, is revisionist history/wishful thinking. Tuberville doubled down in his inexplicable feud with Kiel (if you do the Twitter, there are plenty of rumors), started Trail in a blowout loss to USF, and then started a still-hobbled Moore in a loss to UConn. And that is how one man can destroy an entire season, folks. It’s a reminder of why we’re blacking out homecoming. Just as Spencer Tuckerman wrote on Oh Varsity, UC is my alma mater, and always will be. I have season tickets, and always will. I support the Bearcats. But allowing a program that had AAC championship level talent to be run into the ground by Tubs is unacceptable.
It speaks volumes that Tuberville isn’t even the one selecting his own starting quarterback. It further reinforces in my mind that he just doesn’t care. And it’s just one more example of Tommy passing the buck to somebody else, rather that doing his job by fixing problems, making adjustments, and making difficult decisions.
I am greatly anticipating the #GunShow this Saturday night, and will, as always, be watching from high above Carson field in section 210 supporting my Alma Mater. Cincinnati isn’t Tommy’s alma mater. It isn’t Mike Bohn’s or Zac Taylor’s or hardly anybody else’s in UC’s athletic department, either, for that matter. I’ve been with this program longer than anybody in the Lindner Center (and so have many of you reading this). And when Bohn and Tuberville are long one, I’ll still have my tickets. Right now, it looks like I’ll be stuck with their mess. So for the anybody to tell me to blindly support the administration and staff is an affront to my intelligence and my dedication to this program. I will be wearing black, because I can’t help but wonder what could’ve been if someone competent had been here to make this decision sooner. I’m sure many of you feel the same way.