JimL maintained his cocksure demeanor during another “Will-they-or-won’t-they” NFL-in-LA public forum last week. He called out moderator, NBC’s Conan Nolan, for his choice in tie color, red, for being a little too close to “that other school”. It appeared he was just itching for a fight as he brought up the subject himself. But let’s get to the real reason for this post; will we have a non-QB issue for the first time in, like, awhile? JimL was quite blunt when asked who our QB will be, “If you have two quarterbacks then you have no quarterbacks. We’re going to identify a guy and ride him.” This is quite a departure from our last two drips for head coaches, both of whom couldn’t settle on, well, anything.
Let’s follow JimL’s logic; “If you have two quarterbacks…”, we, indeed, have had a two quarterback system, Slick Rick and Aloha Norm weren’t able to agree on a play-caller for most of their time together. “…you don’t have a quarterback”, well, no shit, Sherlock. A statistician may look at this phrase and look at the ten-year history of the position and tell me I can’t count. Let’s take a quick peek into the recent past; Drew Olson, Pat Cowan, Cory Paus, Kevin Prince, Richard Brehaut, Matt Moore, Ryan McCann, Ben Olson, and no matter how badly they didn’t want to play him, Kevin Craft. That is 9 QB’s in 11 seasons. That is a half century-worth at some schools. I’m not going to pooh-pooh a 2-QB system. Programs have been successful with it in the past; Ohio St. and Florida, either, won or played for a natty. This past season several schools went into fall not knowing if they had a clear-cut number one QB, our Gutties being one. If I’m wrong on the timeline, keep it to yourself. Michigan may have been the most high profile school, Denard Robinson the starter, with Tate Forcier coming off the bench for a different look. The percentages don’t lie, the evidence shows you will be a middling program if you don’t have a #1 QB on the depth chart. I’d like to know the stats on the following scenario: cold 2nd string QB enters for the third or fourth drive, about the 2nd quarter, inevitably, he’ll throw a pass, what is the completion rate? How often is it a turnover? Either way, it is a risky proposition and, rarely, if ever, successful.
Call him arrogant, smug, pompous; all attributes once used to describe Pete Carroll, and terms I still throw around, but JimL knows football. As I’ve previously posited, the time is nigh to be the decider. Slick Rick was constantly second-guessing himself and his staff. That will never bode well when you’re dealing with teenagers. Rarely are children able to be motivated in such a fashion. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are those who are self-motivated. You would hope your QB would be that guy, that leader who will show leadership qualities off the field, which you’d hope would translate to the field. Though, there is a big difference between a dude who will tell his retrievers to show up for a throwing session in March, but then forgets how to make the same throw on a Saturday afternoon. It is a hard task for a 19-year old to be given a quick hook and have him not go into the tank. Especially, young people in the 21st century. Your offense will be that much better if you “identify a guy and ride him”.
Let me be even more bold and discuss who may end up under center next year. Carlos at GoJoeBruin did a great job breaking it down a lil’ more, but I’m going to add my two cents. Prince and Brehaut have had plenty of time to show us what they’re made of; Prince, obviously, ceramics, and Brehaut, Brillo. It’s gotta be the hair. We’re still digging our way out of the mess Chow and Neuheisel created two seasons ago. I’m more inclined to believe the rumors about how well Prince’s dad cleaned Norm’s teeth for that starting spot, but I digress, there will be 8 QB’s returning for spring football. At least, as of February 24 at 10:08a. Now, those happen to be 8 young men who happen to have the letters Q and B next to their name on UCLA’s roster page. This includes Steve Bono’s son, and a dude named Schuh, who has good size, and the savior, Brett Hundley. Without going into too much unsubstantiated ranting, my choice is Hundley. Millweard will come in with great size and trumpeting, but Hundley will be a little more seasoned, and I just don’t see a true freshman playing at the QB spot. I do have to agree with Carlos on one thing, Brehaut is a better passer than Prince. Barely. This was his supposed strength over the China doll, but, rarely, did he exhibit this accuracy in game conditions. What is most vital to any kid, any athlete, is competition. The maturation of an athlete, at any level, is contingent on this. If an athlete has no one pushing him, he will settle into complacency. And if that person cannot meet expectations or withers under pressure, you have found a character fault and he will behave accordingly. One thing is for sure, there will be lots of competition for the position, and I, for one, am excited for the prospect.