By Steven Bartolotta, April 6, 2010, 11:36 a.m.
Well it's official now, Riley Dodge is moving to WR full-time and the North Texas quarterback battle will be between Nathan Tune and Derek Thompson. It's a little surprising to say the least, but not totally unexpected.
If anyone was out at practice last week, you would have seen the man in the red jersey catching balls and running routes with the wide receivers.
The elephant in the room about Riley has always been can he hold up at QB or would he be better off at WR? Well the answer to those questions has been answered, no and yes. The decision wasn't easy and considering the ramifications, not one that was made over night.
No doubt the injuries starting his senior year in high school were an overwhelming factor in his decision, but for Riley it's now about turning the page and helping his dad and his team in other ways.
When he originally committed to Texas he wasn't ever going to play QB for the burnt orange that was no secret.
Mack Brown saw the athlete in Riley, much the same way everyone else still does. From a talent standpoint, Riley is still near the top of the charts on this team in terms of raw talent. Making the move now gives him the remaining two weeks in spring ball to adjust a bit, and go into the fall camp knowing what his role will be.
The transition has been made by others from QB to WR by football players. See here, here, here, and dare I say here? Those were all examples of guys who went from QB to WR after college, but it still does show the possibilities of how Mike Canales could use Riley as well.
It still doesn't lessen the sting of what could have been. Count me as one of those who already penciled Riley's name atop the every passing and major offensive category in the record books.
That's not happening now. For a guy who was brought into to play QB for his father for four years, torch the records, and etch his name permanently as one of the best QB's to ever wear the uniform, it has to be a bitter sweet pill to swallow.
What does North Texas do now at QB? Well you have a veteran in Nathan Tune and an understudy in Derek Thompson. The smart money is on Tune to start but Thompson will no doubt have his chances.
The biggest concern going with Thompson over Tune is you basically are hitting the reset button again. If the Mean Green does go with Thompson, it's a gamble.
Coach Dodge will have then had a true or redshirt freshman (let's face it, that's what Thompson is experience wise) as the QB for most of the season in three out of four years.
Thompson has a ton of upside and potential but how far he has progressed to challenge Tune is going to be the off-season question that won't get answered until mid-to-late August.
The chapter of Dodge playing QB is over, but the era still has plenty of pages to be written.