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Mailbag! Quarterbacks Edition

Reader Adam writes:
If Feagin is not ready to start next season, what will RR do with the offense? I know he likes to have the QB run, but Steven Threet and David Cone are slow.

While Rich Rodriguez does indeed like to have a quarterback who can both pass and run the ball, he is too good a coach to suddenly become a failure if the talent on the team doesn’t sync with his mission. In 2005, West Virginia started Adam Bednarik at QB, and Pat White didn’t take over until Bednarik went down with injury (Bednarik now chills out with a headset on).

In 1999 and 2000, Rich was the offensive coordinator at Clemson. (This is prior to his years with Shaun King at Tulane, when King set an NCAA record for passing efficiency, the most commonly cited evidence that Rodriguez can run an offense with a dropback QB). In 2000, Woody Dantzler started at the quarterback position. In the NFL, Dantzler was most known for a Hesterian kickoff return touchdown while playing for the Dallas Cowboys. He was a run-pass talent, and the Clemson offense in 2000 looked a lot like West Virginia’s in 2007.

In 1999, however, Clemson had an incumbent starter by the name of Brandon Streeter. Streeter was not the athlete that Dantzler was, but went into the season expecting to start. As it turned out, the two quarterbacks ended up sharing time under center (or in the shotgun, as it were). Streeter was the starter, but Dantzler played as well, and the two had a similar number of passing attempts. I believe (but am not sure) that Streeter was injured at various points during the year. Danztler played in 10 games, starting 6, and Streeter played in 8, starting 7.

1999 Clemson QB
PlayerGames-StartsRushesNet YardsAverageTD

1999 Clemson QB

When Dantzler was in, he was able to run. When Streeter was in, he was not forced to run all that often. So, if you’re curious as to what a Rich Rodriguez offense with a less mobile quarterback might look like, take a gander at Streeter highlights from 1999.

Of course, Streeter was a fifth-year senior and Dantzler a junior. For Michigan in 2008, redshirt and true freshmen are expected to carry the load. If Threet starts, the schemes might be 1999 Clemson, but the execution will probably be much worse.

Jared asks:
When Pat White went down, West Virginia was screwed. It happened against South Florida and Pitt. Can Rodriguez not use a backup quarterback effectively?

I think the issue is not that Rodriguez can’t use a backup quarterback, but rather that West Virginia’s backup quarterback, Jarrett Brown, was not ready to carry the team offensively. In the long run, I think this won’t be a huge issue for Michigan, as the name itself should help draw more talent at the QB position beyond one starter-level talent and a bunch of crappy career backups. Evidence of this is available in Michigan’s 2007 season, where Ryan Mallett may not have been completely prepared to handle the load, but at least the Wolverines had a talented player to step in when Chad Henne went down.

For the immediate time frame, this is far more of a potential problem. Michigan has 2 current scholarship quarterbacks in Steven Threet and David Cone. Incoming freshman Justin Feagin will enroll in the fall. Depth in general (much less quality depth) will be a big issue for Michigan this season. Expect current players like Carlos Brown and/or Brandon Minor to get practice reps, if only for emergency game situations.

Thanks to Clemson site Tiger Memories for the source files of those videos, and my apologies for the watermarks on them.

p.s.: jim tressel plz dont punch our playerz

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“Mailbag! Quarterbacks Edition”

  1. Anonymous Ghost_of_Yost Says:

    If you just can't get enough of watching RR's Clemson offense, a Tiger fan posted links to a few videos in this thread: