Boston College heads into Saturday's game at NC State with a number of burning questions, but one that could loom large is which player will be taking snaps.
With grad transfer Patrick Towles still nursing a hamstring injury suffered last week against Syracuse, it could clear the way for sophomore Darius Wade to start. Head coach Steve Addazio isn't ready to say whether or not Towles can go, but if he can't, Wade will be the Eagles' guy under center in Raleigh.
Up until this point, Wade has played mostly in mop-up duty, but he did get the ball in his hands with the game still hanging in the balance last week.
While the young signal caller did complete two nice balls to Charlie Callinan, setting the Eagles up with a chance to tie the Orange on their final drive of the game, he also took an 11-yard sack, and fired a bit too high on fourth down with the game on the line.
Not all of that can be put on Wade's shoulders, as the Eagles were just 4-14 throwing the ball before he entered the game, and didn't complete a pass until the final two minutes of the first half. Still, Wade believes the experience he's gained from last week, and his opportunities on the field from earlier in the year, have prepared him for a potential start.
"I was fortunate enough that, most weeks, I got to go in," Wade said. "Even though it was in the fourth quarter, I had the chance to go and get some snaps and some live game reps, that's always very valuable… I feel like I have enough game, live reps to be ready."
Should Wade start against the Wolfpack, it could serve as an audition for the sophomore heading into 2017. With Towles set to exhaust his eligibility, Wade could be in line to start as a junior. Much of that will depend on how he plays down the stretch, as his numbers so far (7-14, 76 yard, 0 TD, 1 INT) don't exactly jump off the page.
As A.J Black pointed out earlier today, coach Steve Addazio also said that true freshman quarterback Anthony Brown may serve as Wade's backup. Brown is eligible for a redshirt this season, but playing him Saturday would burn the shirt and cost Brown a year of eligibility.
Assuming Brown doesn't play, however, that would set up a quarterback battle next season between a junior Wade and redshirt freshman Brown, plus whomever the Eagles might add in the offseason through recruiting or transfer.
Wade may have the opportunity to get a head start on that competition Saturday. Either way, it should be an interesting few days of preparation for the Eagles, who likely won't know who will be starting at quarterback until late in the week.
"It's different (this week)," Wade said. "I've been through both phases, being a backup and the starter… It's hard (this week) not getting all the first team reps, but still having to be ready to be with the first team at any given moment. So it's kind of a mental game."