The secret was kept from everybody for this long, so it was somewhat surprising that Chris Klieman named Carson Wentz his starting quarterback on Friday. At that point, we all went into amateur detective mode trying to put together the timeline of the last couple of months with the broken bone in his wrist. Even more amazing: how did nothing leak out in this day and age of social media?
“It’s extremely difficult,” Klieman said. “It’s interesting. Our kids are pretty savvy and pretty smart. We didn’t emphasize it to the team, Don’t say anything, don’t say anything. They know. That’s why a lot of the kids are in the program here for four and five years. The kids that are in the program like a Joe Haeg, will tell a young kid, This stays in here. Why you close the practice and stuff, why you want to make sure when you’re in the bubble, nobody can get in there anyway. With closed practices, you can do a lot of things. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a media circus for the guy, so he could do the work and get ready to play.”
The players have essentially known for two weeks that Wentz was going to be the guy, but not a peep on Twitter, Facebook or any other avenue of information. That’s pretty impressive if you think about it.
The head coach is under no mandate to release his starting lineup or injury report, unlike the NFL. Jacksonville head coach John Grass said he would essentially do the same thing. JSU prepared for both Wentz and Easton Stick, so it’s not like they’ll be caught off guard, but perhaps they spent more time on Stick than maybe they have liked? It’s the game behind the game in football. Anyway, at least I don’t have to ask the question anymore. I was tired of it. Klieman was tired of it.
“You know, it’s been a little tiring,” he said. “There’s no question about that. I think everybody understands the realm of when he was cleared to truly throw was back — or come back to practice and throw was I think the first playoff game with UNI. He was throwing. You guys realize, he was doing just what we said. He was throwing at that time. Then each week he probably progressed a little bit more. Even to the point of the last doctor’s appointment. Those were all planned out that he had had for months. We knew if we could get through the semifinal game, there was a great chance that he would play or be able to play. We won the semifinal game, had a couple of days before Christmas that he and I visited.”