Thursday, January 19, 2006

Quarterbacks For All!!!

Assuming no further indecision on the part of the somewhat indecisive Mitch Mustain and Ole Miss hauling in Brent Schaeffer, then SEC schools will have signed both of Rivals.com's five-star pro-style quarterbacks and both of their five-star dual threat signal callers. In addition, Auburn and South Carolina locked up the two four-star pro-style quarterbacks in Alabama, Neil Caudle and the hopefully not aptly-named Chris Smelley. Fully half of the teams in the conference will be bringing in highly-touted starters, which will make comparisons over the next 4-5 years very entertaining. Also, two of the major powers in the league - Tennessee and LSU - brought in hyped quarterbacks last year: Jonathan Crompton and Ryan Perriloux, respectively. That leaves Alabama as the lone major program in the SEC that has not brought in a hyped quarterback in the past two years, although Bama fans swear by the athleticism of Jimmy Johns, a three-star quarterback they brought in last year, and they have visions of him being their Vince Young. (Sure, Vince was a mega-recruit and Johns was not, but don't let Bama fans stop with their delusions of grandeur. They still think that their two decades of good, but not great football are the aberration, as opposed to their two decades with the best coach in college football history.)

The interesting question is whether the influx of quality quarterbacks will cause SEC offenses to start throwing the ball more, like they did in the second half of the 90s when Steve Spurrier was doing his Coach Bryant impression (with slightly better diction and slightly fewer national titles) and the rest of the conference was desperately trying to keep from being left behind. Since Spurrier, with Nick Saban's LSU and Mark Richt's surprisingly defensive Georgia taking leadership mantles in the league, games have become more and more defensive, with this year possibly being the zenith of offense in the SEC (or the apex of SEC defense, depending on your perspective.) This summer, I foolishly predicted an offensive renaissance because of the number of offensive-oriented coaches coming into the league. I'm still thinking that such a move will happen and the quality quarterback crop of February 2006 could be a reason why, although their impact will not be felt for a while.

4 comments:

LD said...

Bama fans were pretty fired up at getting that QB to switch commitments from Texas Tech this week. He's listed as 3 stars by Rivals, but that might be because he committed to Taco Tech early in the process and didn't get all that many offers thereafter. Plus, he's only ranked a few spots lower than Smelley.

So really, it's left to the current minnows (MSU, Vandy and UK) for those without a top QB.

peacedog said...

Well, your predictions hinged on a Gator offensive explosion that never came. However, I think the Dawgs had a pretty good offense this year,despite some hiccups (which partly revolved around Richt being too conservative at times).

Georgia racked up 383 points in 13 games. 7 points shy of the magical 30ppg mark (don't they qualify for gang of six status with that? Or at least get a set of steak knives). Without a Shockley injury I think they easily surpass it (They'll hang an easy 30 on Arky and probably high 20s on the Gators).

This was arguably Richt's best offense. It had the most weapons. We seem to have one very good receiver (MoMass) and a bunch of solid interchangeable ones (McLendon, Bailey when he's catching, Harris, and Railey played well at the end of the year). Two TEs we can throw to, and a staple of good RBs. So even though it wasn't flashy, it was pretty impressive (and if you had a healthy shockley with another year of starting experience, who knows what we do).

Michael said...

Good point, LD. I had to be somewhat arbitrary and cut off "blue chip" status at four stars. Plus, it let me discuss Bama fans' collective delusions of grandeur, one of my favorite topics.

Peace, I was banking on more than an explosion from Florida. I thought that LSU's offense would be much better, given the returning talent, but it wasn't. I was counting on Tennessee, given their returning starters and excellent offense in 2004. I thought that Bama would have a good offense with a healthy year from Brodie Croyle. Wrong, wrong, and wrong. I do agree, however, that this was Georgia's best offense of the Richt era. I'm a bigger fan of Shockley than I was of David Greene. On the other hand, the '02 offense had a better line and Musa was better than any of UGA's runners this year. (Brown or Lumpkin might end up being better.)

peacedog said...

I know you were banking on more than Florida, but from previous readings and discussions I did feel like you thought Florida would be at the center of it. They weren't. . .and what I think you got was a few subtle improvements by teams (UGA, USC; Auburn didn't really drop off much which was fairly impressive IMO), some treading of water or small dropp off (LSU, maybe), and definately a dissappointment or two (Tennessee, though I argue against them being a dissappointment, and for this development being glorious).

LSU had a new full time QB (who did have experience previously) and so did the Barners (whosed QB was completely new). That complicates things, I suppose. And I suspect that more often than not, a new QB is a bigger factor than anything else. I don't recall LSU getting better as the year went on; I wonder if that's significant.