Those who watched Cozart separate himself from the competition during KU’s spring game could sense this was coming. The sophomore quarterback clearly was the best of the group, using his feet to make plays while also showing progress as a passer in new offensive coordinator John Reagan’s offense. He earned offensive MVP honors by accounting for two touchdowns.
Weis' decision to hand over the future of KU’s offense to Cozart is the right one for several reasons.
First, Cozart has three years of eligibility remaining, giving him time to grow and improve, with some of his ups and downs as a young player likely to pay off later. Jake Heaps, his main competitor heading into the spring game, will be a senior in 2014. Cozart was pulled out of his redshirt as a freshman last season, starting three games and putting any freshman jitters in the past, allowing him to enter this season with knowledge of what to expect.
Second, Cozart brings the best combination of physical traits with his running ability and his passing skills continuing to develop. Earlier in the spring, Weis had talked of playing multiple quarterbacks and using them in different ways this fall, but Cozart’s progress as a passer makes that unnecessary. If he continues to develop as a passer, he could become the complete package behind center. And his spring performance showed he's the best option for now and the future.
Last, Weis' decision to name Cozart the starter just days after the spring game is a sign of confidence. The decision allows the sophomore to settle in as the face of KU’s offense, and it means the coach is confident that he has a quarterback. He said earlier in the spring that a lengthy quarterback battle that lasts deep into preseason camp means “you don’t have one.” If it all works out, Weis’ confidence will breed confidence in Cozart and among his teammates.
Cozart finished his freshman season with 227 passing yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions in seven games, so it’s not time to cement his spot on the preseason All-Big 12 team quite yet.
But naming Cozart as the starter could be remembered as the first step toward making KU’s offense the most explosive of Weis’ tenure.