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Another turn in the UC QB soap opera

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First, the news. Zach Collaros will start at quarterback this Friday vs. West Virginia. Tony Pike, Brian Kelly said, will play as well. So, here's the timeline regarding what Kelly has said about Pike/Collaros since Pike injured his arm:

 

The previous few weeks before UC plays UConn: When Tony Pike is healthy, he will return as the starting quarterback. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

 

Saturday night, after UC's 47-45 victory against UConn: Kelly says he might have to reconsider his previous statements. Since Collaros has been nothing short of amazing since he took over the starting role, Kelly said Pike and Collaros will have to compete for the right to start.

 

Monday morning, on the weekly Big East coaches teleconference: Kelly says he's changed his mind again. Now, he says when Pike is "fully healthy," he will return as the starter and Collaros will return to the bench.

 

Tuesday morning, during a radio interview and later at the UC weekly news conference: Collaros is your starter vs. the Mountaineers, and the newest goal is to get Pike ready to start the Illinois game on Nov. 27.

 

So, say what?

 

"When Zach has come in, he's played at a high level," Kelly said. "It's allowed us to set that bar a little higher for Tony. Now, we don't have to put Tony in there until he's 100 percent."

 

But wouldn't the risk be the same to Pike whether he starts or comes in to relieve Collaros?

 

"We think the risk is minimized," Kelly said. "He's got risk in everything he does for the next three months. We're gradually trying to minimize that risk. I don't have to play Tony at 70 percent."

 

Kelly said Pike is fine with the latest arrangement, but Kelly also didn't want to discuss how he would use Pike against the Mountaineers. I asked how much he had to balance this year and needing Pike to help his team win games vs. Pike's possible future as a pro quarterback when deciding whether to play him.

 

"You try to put all those things together," Kelly said. "We're here to win college football games. Quite frankly, (the pro career) is not at the top of my list. But it's something you have to consider. You have to consider all those things when you're making those decisions."

 

--While we're talking about injuries, Kelly also said senior running back Jacob Ramsey - who has accumulated 419 rushing yards this season, second-best on the team behind Isaiah Pead - has a foot sprain and will miss Friday's game. That means John Goebel, who has been fitted for a cast on his broken arm that will allow him to carry the ball, or Darrin Williams will have a shot to back up Pead.

 

--Senior linebacker Marcus Waugh's father, Tom, was an All-Big Ten center at Ohio State in the mid- to late-1970s. Marcus Waugh, though, has converted his father into becoming a Bearcats fan.

 

"He's in the Ohio State section with a Cincinnati jersey on," Waugh said today. "He said, 'I'll be a Cincinnati fan until you're done and then I'll go back to being an Ohio State fan.'"

 

This, even though the family wanted the Whitehouse, Ohio native to play football in Columbus. Though he's spent part of his time at UC playing tight end and defensive lineman, he's played well as a backup linebacker this season, totaling 14 tackles.

 

"Both of our dreams were for me to go to Ohio State, but it wasn't in the cards," Waugh said. "Just to stay in Ohio, he was really proud. He hasn't missed a game since my seventh grade year. Just to play college football at the Division I level, he was really proud."

 

--Just in case you hadn't heard, I've got another book signing this Thursday. It'll be Thursday at the Barnes & Noble in Newport on the Levee with former Bearcats and current Bengals punter Kevin Huber and former Bearcats/Bengals/Patriots DB Artrell Hawkins. Come on out. It'll be good times.

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