Coach Jim Collins plans to use two quarterbacks when the Wittenberg Tigers open the 2023 season at 2 p.m. Saturday against the University of Dubuque in Iowa.
Senior Collin Brown, the starter the last two seasons, will split time with junior Max Milton. Collins knows he’s not the only coach in the country going with a two-quarterback system.
“UCLA’s playing three,” Collins said. “The Buckeyes are playing two. Alabama might be playing two. I’ve seen the two-quarterback system work for a lot of teams. I’m not sure we’re going to go with the two-quarterback system all year, but coming into this game, both guys are going to play.”
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Brown, a Mason High School graduate, threw 14 touchdown passes and five interceptions in seven appearances in 2021, his first season as a starter but was limited by injuries.
Last season, Brown threw 20 touchdowns and six interceptions in 10 games, while averaging 170.5 yards per game.
The 5-10, 180-pound Milton is from Carmel, Ind., and is a graduate of the Heritage Christian School. He appeared in one game as a freshman and in two games last season when he attempted two passes.
“Milton has done a great job of competing,” Collins said. “You’ve got a guy that’s played a lot of football in Collin, but then you’ve got a guy in Milton who has just worked hard and competed. So they’re both very capable.”
Wittenberg’s third-string quarterback, Northmont graduate Miles Johnson, is a fifth-year senior who appeared in four games last season and completed 8 of 18 passes.
“We’ve got really good depth,” Collins said.
Wittenberg finished 5-5 last season and 4-4 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. It was the first season for Collins, who was hired in November 2021 days after Joe Fincham retired after 25 seasons.
Wittenberg was picked to finish fifth in the NCAC preseason poll this season. DePauw, Wabash, Denison and Ohio Wesleyan were the top four picks. Wittenberg received one first-place vote.
Wittenberg was the only NCAC team to beat DePauw, which won the championship with a 7-1 mark, and earned that 30-7 victory on the road one week after losing 42-35 at home to Wabash. However, Wittenberg closed its NCAC schedule with losses to Denison, Wooster and Ohio Wesleyan.
The Tigers open NCAC play in Week 3 this season. They get a week off after playing Dubuque and then play Kenyon at Edwards-Maurer Field at 6 p.m. Sept. 16. It’s too early to say who will start the second game. Collins said Wednesday he hadn’t decided if Brown or Milton would start the opener.
“Max Milton, throughout camp, he’s been the most accurate passer and has really done a great job of moving our football team,” Collins said. “Collin Brown is big and strong and has a strong arm and can run, and I think he brings a physical element to the quarterback run game. Last year, he was coming off his shoulder surgery. This year, with him being healthy, I think that dimension of him as a runner in a big body, that’s his forte and then you have Miles in that in that other spot. He’s a very good passer.”