Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Great Debate: Quarterback

So the question running through Baylor Fandom these days is what to do with the Quarterback situation.

Let's take a look at our options, shall we?

Shawn Bell -
He led Baylor through part of 2004, most of 2005 and all of 2006. He has struggled from the beginning to be an explosive player, but received high marks for not throwing "the" interception. The one that killed the team.

He struggled to start the 2005 campaign, throwing 2 interceptions against both SMU and Army, but they were (understandably) overshadowed by the win. He improved as the year went on, but that disturbing trend reappeared. And now it's not the DBs intercepting passes, but defensive ends...

Bell again threw 4 interceptions in his first 3 games this year, before turning in a zero-interception effort against Army. The problem is the "1"s. He has thrown for 1 touchdown in each game against a D1-A opponent so far, no more, no less. That's something that has to stop.

Blake Szymanski -
He grew up in the spread offense in high school, came to Baylor and redshirted. His only appearance thus far was mop-up duty against NSU that didn't really show us anything about him. He's got a bigger arm, though accuracy is a question. He's got more athleticism, so he could use his feet to escape trouble if need be.

I'd like to see him get more snaps in live games, preferably in times when the game isn't on the line, but when the snaps are still meaningful.

Tyler Beatty -
Big, strong kid. The coaches really, really like his potential in this offense, but I seriously doubt they'd burn his redshirt to see him in the games. Especially not if Blake isn't even getting on the field.

I expect Beatty to be challenging both Blake and Kinne next spring (assuming Kinne enrolls in January) for the starting position. It should be a pretty significant battle and should lead to us having our best QB corps and depth since before Steele, albeit young players.

As I said, I think Blake needs to be given more opportunities to see what he can do. And he doesn't need to get the Parks treatment where he's thrown in at the end of the game to heave balls deep when the defense knows exactly what's coming. Give him the fourth series of the game (Bell always starts to stall there anyway), and give him two series. Then do the same thing in the third quarter, giving him the 4th and 5th series of the game, assuming we aren't down by more than 1 score.

Washington State has done this and they are grooming their backup to take over. And he's been able to give them a spark. Maybe Blake can do the same thing. Maybe not. But we don't know right now.

And I still think that if Bells sucks it up and makes an effort to get some passes to the next level of the defense, then he can be successful in this offense. I just don't have confidence in his willingness to do that. Prove me wrong, Shawn.

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