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COLUMN: Starting Tony Poljan at quarterback again doesn't benefit anyone

Sophomore wide receiver Tony Poljan stays up while being tackled in front of the end zone on Oct. 20 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

When a football team's starting quarterback goes down with an injury, the backup comes in just as expected. 

It's the way the game is played, at least in most situations.

But the Central Michigan football team is facing a different set of circumstances.

At 1-8 overall, CMU has lost any chance at a bowl game, Mid-American Conference title, Michigan MAC Trophy or Victory Cannon Trophy. The season is over, in terms of on-field accomplishments.

The team is not playing for any individual or team records, except to avoid its worst start since joining Division I in 1975 and lowest win percentage since 1904.

When CMU, 1-7 at the time, took the field to play Akron on Oct. 27 at InfoCision Stadium, Tony Poljan led the team as the starting quarterback. The Chippewas lost, 17-10.

Poljan was pulled from the starting position with 6:33 left in the third quarter against Northern Illinois in Week 3 due to poor performance. 

However, Poljan went back to a starting quarterback role against the Zips after Lazzaro acquired a season-ending injury against Western Michigan on Oct. 20.

During media availability in the days leading up to playing the Zips, Bonamego claimed redshirt freshman Austin Hergott and true freshman George Pearson, both quarterbacks, would play in the final four games due to a new NCAA rule.

The rule states all players, like Pearson, will still receive a redshirt for their freshman season despite playing in the final four games. 

"Based on what we've seen in practice, they have earned an opportunity to get in the game," Bonamego said of Hergott and Pearson. "We want to see what they can do." 

Despite Bonamego's words before the game, Hergott and Pearson did not touch the field. CMU's coach mentioned in the week following that Pearson did not play due to a day-to-day injury.

Poljan is a tight end, not a quarterback. He had a chance under center, was benched and then shined as a pass catcher.

If the Chippewas had a chance at bowl eligibility or a MAC title this season, playing Poljan would make sense based on overall experience. But at this point, CMU football doesn't have anything to lose.

Poljan quarterbacking is not the answer. He's best used as a pass catcher. 

CMU has three more games left on its schedule. Hergott and Pearson, two quarterback candidates for the 2019 season, have never taken a college snap. Poljan, a should-be tight end, is not the answer, and Lazzaro is injured.

The choice that needs to be made is to start Hergott or Pearson and give them the experience necessary to expand the future of the program — one that doesn’t include another 1-8 start.