BLACKSBURG, VA., SEPT. 12 -- After starting the season with a last-minute loss to Maryland and adding a victory over Bowling Green, the Virginia Tech coaching staff has decided to make a change at quarterback.
Throughout fall practices Coach Frank Beamer said the starting position was junior Will Furrer's to lose. After two starts, it appears that's what has happened.
Beamer started thinking about the change after the Sept. 1 loss to Maryland. He decided that Furrer would start against Bowling Green but that junior backup quarterback Rodd Wooten would come in for the second quarter.
Furrer returned to start the third quarter but, following a sack, was replaced by Wooten for the remainder of the game. Furrer had slightly sprained his knee on the play, but was given permission to play by the team physician. Beamer preferred to stay with Wooten and will stick with him Saturday night at East Carolina.
Beamer says the two are nearly equal in ability but said Wooten's play is better suited for the team's future.
"I pay more attention to who's moving the chains," he said. "Rodd's personality is a bit better right now for this team. . . . Will's done some things that I'm sure he'd like to change, particularly in that Maryland game. Rodd's just taken advantage of an opportunity. Rodd's got a quick delivery, feels pressure well, and when he's on he throws very well."
Heading into the season, the quarterback position was full of uncertainty. Both players missed all of spring practice and both were recovering from injuries. Furrer was coming back after a knee injury, Wooten was dealing with offseason surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his shoulder.
Wooten did not begin throwing until July 1. After experiencing some soreness, he slowed his comeback and did not throw again until two weeks before the season opener. Now, two games into the season, he is being asked to start.
"I'm just happy to finally get a chance," he said. "This is the first time I'm actually taking over the job. I don't think Will was playing bad, I just think I was moving the team a little better. . . . I don't have any problems with my arm and that's the greatest feeling."
Beamer already has decided to use both quarterbacks. However, this time Furrer will replace Wooten in the second quarter.
Furrer has not been given any clear indication from the coaches about his future.
"I'm not particularyly worried about it," he said. "Granted it's not the situation I envisioned coming back. I wanted to come back and be number one, stay number one, and have a great year and the team have a great year.
"It hurts your confidence a little bit and I think you can feel when other people lose confidence in you. That's a feeling that's been a little more prevalent this year than in the past and I'm not sure why that is. It hasn't seemed to me that my performance has been that bad."
Beamer said he would have preferred not to make a switch.
"I don't like to switch quarterbacks," he said. "It's like saying, 'You've got to do something big this series or come out.' I don't like doing that."
Last season Virginia Tech ran up 342 yards rushing against East Carolina but was upset, 14-10. That loss, in a 6-4-1 season, probably kept the Hokies out of a postseason bowl game.
"I'm looking forward to going right back there and correcting some wrongs from last year," Beamer said.