The 2013 Dakota Days game began with a twist at the quarterback position.
Sophomore Kevin Earl has been chosen as the starting quarterback over junior, team captain Josh Vander Maten, who has started the last 15 games for the Coyotes, dating back to September 2012.
Vander Maten was listed as the team’s starting quarterback on the official depth chart, but has been seen on the sidelines wearing gloves and working with the wide receivers.
Earl replaced Vander Maten last Saturday in the Coyotes’ 24-10 loss against Western Illinois. The six foot six inch quarterback marched the team down the field for the team’s first and only score.
This was after Vander Maten struggled through three quarters, passing for just 21 yards..
Through those first four games Vander Maten had only thrown for 384 yards and two touchdowns.
Earlier in the week first-year running back Trevor Bouma said if a quarterback change was made it would really change up the offense.
“They’re completely different quarterbacks,” Bouma said. “Josh (Vander Maten) makes plays with his feet as an athlete, where (Earl) is more of a passer than a runner. We’re going to need a quarterback that can open up some running lanes through a good passing game, we’ll see how it goes.”
The 215-pound Earl saw sparse action in 2012, throwing for 218 career yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Quarterback changes midway through the season, while not popular, have been seen throughout college football.
Other examples include in 2012, when midway through the season, the University of Michigan decided to move Heisman contender Denard Robinson from quarterback to running back.
Robinson ran for back-to-back 100-yard games following the move.
Again in 2012, the University of Minnesota moved starting quarterback MarQueis Gray from quarterback to wide receiver. He’s now on the Cleveland Browns roster as a wide receiver and tight end.