Starter: Sr. Daryll Clark
Backups: Fr. Kevin Newsome, Fr. Matt McGloin
2008 stats: Clark completed 192-of-321 passes (59.8 percent) for 2,592 yards, 19 TDs and six interceptions; just 87 yards shy of Kerry Collins' school single-season record of 2,679 yards; averaged 8.1 yards per completion and 199.4 yards per game; sacked 11 times.
Comfort zone for Clark: "I know that I'm going to be the starter. Up to now last year, I didn't know. I was working to try and get the starting job [over Pat Devlin]. I don't want to say it's a comfort level, but it's just something that I don't have to worry about. Now I can just worry about getting this offense together to be where we need to be to win football games."
Best-case scenario: Clark stays healthy and makes good progress in all facets during his second year as the starter. His completion percentage topped 60 percent for most of last season, and if he's above that this year with the new receiving corps, the offense should be very good.
Worst-case scenario: Clark gets hurt. If that happens, all bets are off for the entire team because the true freshman Newsome would have to take over. There's a new offensive line with only two starters back, and the guys up front must protect Clark. A lot of responsibility falls on projected left tackle Dennis Landolt, who started last year on the right side.
Clark on Newsome: "He's matured as fast as we wanted him to. He's just getting better each and every day. ... He's been coming along very strong, asking a lot of questions, which is one key that you need to be a good quarterback at this level. ... He has to grow up faster than everyone else. God forbid I get hurt and he has to step in. With everything going as well as it is right now, there's not a doubt that I have in my mind if I happen to get hurt he would be able to fit the mold."
Fumbleitis: Clark fumbled 10 times last season, though he lost only four. He has an upright running style and is such a big target, so he takes a lot of solid hits in the open field. He not only must protect the football, but also himself after suffering two concussions already in his college career.
The bottom line: Clark is the best quarterback in the Big Ten. He's more polished than Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor and more consistent than Illinois' Juice Williams. The coaches may not let him run much to keep him healthy, but defenses will know he's dangerous with his arm and his feet.