This is the latest in our This Year vs. Last Year series. Essentially, it’s just like it sounds — we’ll break down how each unit looks this year compared to last year. Next up is the quarterbacks.
Key Losses: None
Returning Starters: Kain Colter, Trevor Siemian
Why 2012 Was Better: This is going to be the shortest piece in our this year/last year series, because unless Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian both pull a James Vandenberg, it's tough to see the quarterbacks being worse this year, barring injuries.
Why 2013 Will Be Better: From both a passing and a running standpoint, things look up for the Northwestern quarterbacks in 2013. Early on in 2012, the coaches struggled to fund the best rotation to maximize the talents of Colter and Siemian, but by the end of the season, they had started to figure things out. This spring, we broke down how NU uses both quarterbacks and it essentially boils down to this: if the Wildcats need short yardage they have Colter in, if they need to air it out and get down the field quickly they have Siemian in and everything else in between depends on the gameplan.
For Coter, the option remains a deadly weapon. He and Venric Mark have nearly perfected the option, and it has made both of them wildly successful. Colter can throw — he's often not given enough credit for that — but the option is how he's made his living, and it's made other parts of NU's game more successful, too. Siemian has steadily improved and become a force in the passing game, and as long as that improvement continues, the Wildcats will have quite the quarterback tandem on their hands in 2013.
This Year or Last Year: This Year
We've basically already answered this, but barring injuries, it's really tough to see the quarterbacks being any worse this year. The option should be as good as ever and the passing game should be more consistent now that Siemian and Colter both have more experience as passers. The weapons around the quarterbacks are great, as well. In addition to Mark, the running backs are solid, and the wide receivers figure to be better than last year. The offensive line may take some time to come around, like it did last year, but it has too much talent to not be adequate. Overall, it's tough to know exactly how the NU quarterbacks will be used, but at the very least, they should be better than last year.