Eli Drinkwitz certainly waits until the last minute to dump all this news on us, huh?
After announcing that Tyler Badie wouldn’t be playing in the Bowl Game tomorrow, Drinkwitz announced on Tuesday that Brady Cook will start at quarterback against Army in Wednesday’s Armed Forces Bowl. The news accompanied Drinkwitz’s announcement that Connor Bazelak will not play in the bowl game.
The head coach raised some eyebrows when he announced the QB spot would be an open competition heading into the bowl game. It was hard to fault him though, especially after Bazelak struggled heavily against Arkansas in the regular season finale.
Cook impressed in his brief spurts of action, though the raw numbers were skewed given that most of his snaps came against the country’s best defense in Athens, Ga. However, Cook always seemed to have Drinkwitz’s trust as the next man up. The redshirt freshman took the decisive snaps in a win over South Carolina, a surprising move given that Bazelak returned to his starting role for the rest of the season.
In his limited playing time, Cook has displayed a playing style similar to that of Bazelak: hyper-efficient and risk averse with the occasional ability to throw deep. Cook has shown more of a willingness to run than Bazelak, so it remains to be seen if Drinkwitz decides to utilize the freshman’s legs against a stout Army defensive front.
As for Bazelak, we have little to suggest why the 2021 starter is unavailable for the game. The redshirt sophomore missed some time earlier in the fall after an injury in the Vanderbilt win. He returned to action following the Georgia game but was never able to recapture his early season form. He figures to be the clubhouse leader for next year’s starting quarterback role in a room that will feature Cook, former four-star recruit Tyler Macon and incoming blue-chipper Sam Horn.