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Breaking in a new quarterback?

What the heck does "breaking in" a new quarterback" mean? (This question is not directed at anybody that has expressed the notion on this site.)

Talent makes a difference at quarterback, not "breaking in" moderately talented players. Starting QB positions are mostly won in preseason competition. In 2018 at both Bama and Clemson freshmen QBs beat out "well broken" in QBs. who had a full year starting experience.

We at NC State are fortunate enough to have 3 very talented quarterbacks competing for the starting position being coached by a well credentialed QB coach.

Relax, it's all good!!



  • TheAliasTrollTheAliasTroll Posts: 1,923PFN Referee

    you know damn well that's directed at me, Grey! lmao

    Look, we've certainly been blessed at QB in recent years, but I remember the darks days immediately following Rivers' departure. Can little ole NC State keep churning out Russel Wilsons, Mike Glennons, etc?

    With Daniel Evans and Marcus Stones dancing through my memory I'm ALWAYS super nervous when trotting out a new arm.

    You say we've got 3 very talented ones in the bank, which I hope you are right about. Good news is we'll find out soon enough!

  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,285PFN Referee
    edited July 8

    I think the concern is natural and understandable. There are only two times in my lifetime of following NC State football where we started a freshman or redshirt freshman QB and actually improved. Those two QBs were guys named Rivers and Wilson.

    I also remember the times we have tried to follow a QB that exhausted his eligibility at NC State and got drafted. Poor Jay Davis was a good talent but looked like a “deer in the headlights.” Pete Thomas anyone? Even Shane Montgomery had a rough first campaign (and split time with Poag, a blast from the past name that I had to look up).

    I would probably feel better if we had more returning cast, but there are new faces everywhere — coaches, players, and tons of production lost (Backing the Pack had a great article on this). Let’s be honest. On paper this is a complete rebuild of the offense off of a team that was carried by the offense (TAMU and Clemson showed just how porous our defense was).

    All I can say is thank goodness we have a kicker and are finally at least trying in Special Teams. Those two RBs look pretty darn good to me (thank you Des). I also think McDonald’s 3rd down and red zone play calling looked good in the Spring game (though how much does one take from that?). I think our DB play has to improve. So, there are glimmers there of things to be cautiously optimistic about.

  • Fastback68Fastback68 Posts: 576

    I haven’t really come across much information about the strengths and weaknesses of each qb. I remember it being a continuous tie between Finley and Jalan without specifics at the time.

    Has anyone seen these guys practice or play outside of the spring game or what did you see at the spring game? I get the impression from TOS insiders that access to practice is really limited. I can appreciate that and understand why.

  • GreywolfGreywolf Posts: 654
    edited July 8

    Alias and Rye comments make good points, however neither address the IMO ludicrousness of the concept of "breaking in" a quarterback, which was the only point I was really making.

    Alias, you give good examples of the futility of "breaking in" a quarterback. I could give more - Pete Thomas for example. Like I said, "Talent makes a difference at quarterback, not "breaking in" moderately talented players." 

    Who knows how the QB competition will turn out. Just that won't be because we "broke one in."

  • GreywolfGreywolf Posts: 654

    gopack.com has their past results. Go to the roster and click on their name. Same for coaches.

    The new coaches data is some interesting reading also.

  • choppack1choppack1 Posts: 799

    Pete Thomas wouldn’t have been bad in the right system.

    So much depends on the fit of the talent around you. So much depends on how you handle the speed of the game. So much depends on how you handle looking like a complete clown when you make a big mistake.

    We have zero idea how these guys will do as college quarterbacks. If you think it’s something that can be taken flippantly Jay Davis, Marcus Stone, Justin Burke, Sheriffs, Jose Laureano and Harrison Beck say hello.

  • GreywolfGreywolf Posts: 654

    Still looking for a comment, any comment, to do with the thread title to do with "breaking in" a quarterback.

    Chop, you may not have zero idea how these will turn out but IMO that's a cope out for failure to look for evidence of possibility and there is plenty of that.

    BTW Jay Davies, Justin Burke, Sheriffs, Jose Laureano and Harrison Beck are hardly comparable comparisons to Hockman or Leary.

  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,285PFN Referee
    edited July 8

    I think there’s something to be said for real, live game action. A young player (even an extremely talented one) is going to make some mistakes. The question is how they learn from them.

    I still remember RW’s debut. He was managing the game very well, and State was ahead. Heck, even though the score was something like 3-0, I felt like the Pack was in control. Then RW took a bad hit and was knocked out. The rout was on. The thing about RW was how he learned from that. He avoided contact much, much better from that point forward (minus that fluke play in the bowl game). That’s still serving him well in the NFL.

    Will the same will be the case for any of our three after they inevitably make some bad mistakes early? On the original topic, that’s what I personally think of as “breaking in a new QB.” Only time will tell what any of these three are made of, and how they bounce back from adversity.

    I think Leary or Hockman will be starting and getting most of the snaps by ACC play. I suspect the staff would prefer that to be Leary for a number of reasons.

  • GreywolfGreywolf Posts: 654

    Rye, IMO it would have been hard for RW to have avoided the knee of the SC player who went after RW's head after RW was already down. That play still pisses me off -- obviously.

    Making mistakes? Finley was still making mistakes when he was a senior. Turning over the ball on an INT occasionally, one in particular that ended our last chance to go ahead in a game we lost. Sliding short of a first down at least once in every game he played.

    McLendon threw an INT deep in the red zone when he was competing with Finley in their first game together. It wasn't Mac's breaking in point, it was Finley's becoming the starting QB. I don't recall a single McLendon fan lamenting that he needed to be broken in.

    Can't argue and don't want to that experience isn't a good thing. I just don't think a freshman starter is "being broken in" as is implied in the statement, "We gotta break in new QB." I don't recall ever hearing that expression applied to a QB or any other football player before.

    It's my opinion that the quartet of Doeren, Kitchings, McDonald and Roper will decide on a starter before the first game, maybe waiting as late as the morning of the ECU game to announce it. We might have some clues as reports of the scrimmages come out.

    Echoing what you said the OL is a concern. My concern has abated since learning that Strickland had been injured but was declared good to go this past June. More on the OL and other concerns later -- maybe separate threads.

  • oldwolfoldwolf Posts: 107

    Finally a real subject about football! ๐Ÿค“

    i tend to agree with Grey, it is not a matter of “breaking in” a new QB, but more of an unknown.

    it seems that there is some talent in the 3 but we do not know how they will perform at game time and how they will mesh with the system and other players.

    it was mentioned that Clemson and Bama did not have problems with new and inexperienced QB’s but they were exceptionally good talents.

    there are examples of “can’t miss” players at QB that didn’t turn out so good - Todd Maranovich (so?) comes to mind or even our own Marcus Stone.

    PR and RW were both unknown quantity before they had game experience.

    it goes both ways - it is the unknown rather than breaking in a QB

  • KingHippo_fka_BJD95KingHippo_fka_BJD95 Posts: 2,839PFN Referee

    1) Finley indeed had a bad senior year, in that it was a step back from his awesome 2017 performance. Cost him lots of money, though he found a good landing spot.

    2) I remember "we can't get worse than Jay Davis." Followed by "we can't get worse than Marcus Stone," then the bottom really fell out with Daniel Evans and Harrison Beck. So, the unknown scares me.

    3) I don't think Jalen has the "processor speed" to run Drinkwitz' offense. Still unclear how many elements of that will remain.

    4) Speaking of that, losing our "mad genius" and QB guru makes me uneasy, though I like the coaches we still have. But expect a learning curve, and maybe some bumps in the road.

    5) If the OL is mediocre or worse...we gon' have a bad year. Period., end of.

  • AdventurooAdventuroo Posts: 1,819

    The OL is, IMHO, more of a factor. It prevents “breaking in” from becoming “BROKEN UP”. See RW performance @ WI compared to his last year @ State.

  • KingHippo_fka_BJD95KingHippo_fka_BJD95 Posts: 2,839PFN Referee

    That were my 5th point! If the OL can't function, we are talking about "deck chairs on the Titanic" here.

  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,285PFN Referee

    The OL is the key, and that turnover is what concerns me the most. We need the OL to protect the QB (obviously), but we also need it to create the running game needed to keep the pressure off the QB. Without effective OL play, the QB discussion is kind of moot anyway.

    If we still had the same OL coach and our stud center was a senior, then I'd be much less concerned. Instead we have a new OL coach (though seemingly a good one) and newer (or at least lesser experienced) players. Who knows how the OL is going to perform?

    We may also have new schemes or minimally play calls. We also have attrition in the receiving corps.

    I think we have to be honest that this is a whole lot of change. It'd be a lot for an upper classman QB with a number of years in the system and live action snaps played. It's even more with a new QB.

    Of course the flip side argument could be that anything with a new QB is a lot of change, so one might as well have all that change at once. Here's to hoping it is more like Rivers/Chow than it was like Daniel Evans/Trestman.

    Of course, I do see Grey's point. Talent is talent. Football is football. If one of these QBs is pro-level material, then they'll be fine regardless, much like Rivers and Wilson were.

  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,285PFN Referee
    edited July 8

    I was checking some stats today... Through 7 years at NC State:

    • Sheridan: 52-29 (.637), 2-4 bowl record, 2 years ending in the top 25, high AP rank mark of 11th, ranked in the top 15 at some point in four seasons
    • O'Cain: 41-40 (.506), 1-2 bowl record, 1 year ending in the top 25, high AP rank mark of 17th, ranked at some point in 5 seasons
    • Amato: 49-37 (.570), 4-1 bowl record, 1 year ending in the top 25, high AP rank mark of 10th, ranked in the top 15 at some point in 2 seasons
    • TOB (6 years): 40-35 (.533), 2-1 bowl record, 1 year ending in the top 25, high AP rank mark of 21rst, only one season in any sort of AP ranking
    • DD (6 years): 43-34 (.558), 3-2 bowl record, 1 year ending in the top 25, high AP rank mark of 14th, ranked at some point in 2 seasons

    If DD can finish 8-4 and win a bowl, he'll have arguably passed what Amato did at State. I think that's doable. He's seemingly better than what TOB and O'Cain did.

  • MikePack89MikePack89 Posts: 117

    The left handed redhead from SoCal - proper spelling of his name is Marijuanavich hahahaha

  • GreywolfGreywolf Posts: 654
    edited July 8

    Rye, Let's take a closer look at the offensive line.

    We are losing arguably the best center in college football in 2018. That doesn't mean we have to replace him with the worst center in college football. Actually it's more of an unknown to me than a concern. Skulthorpe did an excellent job at all 3 interior line positions in 2018. He played enough to be considered a starter. Considering Skully a starter means we have to replace 2 of 5 starters off the OL, not 3.

    I believe the real concern with our OL is 'can we replace Coach Dwayne Ledford with anywhere near as good?'

    gopack.com is worth the read on John Garrison's coaching accomplishments including coaching a kid from walk-on to All-American at Nebraska. Before 2018 at FAU he coached 2 years at UNLV and 6 years at Nebraska. At FAU he inherited an OL unit that had lost three starters from the previous season. (Sound familiar?)

    His rebuilt 2018 line ranked 14th in the FBS in sacks allowed, giving up just 1.17 per game. The Owls also led Conference USA and ranked 14th in rushing with 241.8 yards per contest... I don't care what conference it is, those are good stats.

    Conference USA ain't P-5 football but Nebraska is.

    One side benefit is Garrison was the starting long snapper as a true freshman at Nebraska. We have occasionally had some LS problems. Nice to have a coach on staff who knows something about long snapping.

    IMO concern for our OL coach is a waste of time. This guy is the real deal. Six of his former players at Nebraska were on NFL rosters at the start of the 2018 season...

    We had the entire starting OL out for the Spring game. I could not tell from watching the game. Improbable as it might seem, our OL might turn out to be a bright spot for us in 2019.

    Did I mention Garrison is a top 25 type recruiter. He can do everything but repair the turf where our OL tore it up practicing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • GreywolfGreywolf Posts: 654

    Take tea and see. Better living through chemistry...๐Ÿ˜Ž

  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,285PFN Referee

    grey: I see the same potentially good things from the new OL coach that you do. What I don't know is what type of talent we have in the pipeline and how game ready they will be. I also don't know if our new OCs (or OL coach) will change the blocking scheme, etc.. So, while I don't think the sky is falling, I do think its fair to say there's a lot of unknowns on the OL.

    I agree with you that the OL could be the best part of our offense. If so, then I expect the fans are going to love the rushing stats because I see two backs that can get out in space and do some nifty things with separation. If that happens, the QB can be brought along a bit more slowly (which was the origin of this thread).

    So yeah, here's to hoping we have a good OL................

  • GreywolfGreywolf Posts: 654

    One encouraging thought is knowing that 6-6, 329 lb. RS FR Jaylen Strickland is now healed from his injury.

    I don't know the "who's" but I know we have the meat to have a good OL. We have started 2 true freshmen (Adams and Fedd-Jackson) on the OL in recent years and some of these incomers are "football ready."

    While 2020 should be one of our best, I'm not giving up on 2019 just yet.

    We talk about improvement in our team and our assistant coaches, our HC is becoming a pretty darn good HC. It won't take much to turn some of our past loses into wins. IMO Doeren's part is staying out of the way and letting all the coaching talent he has hired do their thing.

  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,285PFN Referee

    Grey: I agree with you regarding DD. He's got to know when to delegate, and how to trust to be able to delegate and not override. That's easier said than done. His trajectory is upwards, and another strong year could really position him well.

  • GreywolfGreywolf Posts: 654
    edited July 8

    Rye, I think it's going to be smoother going forward. Kitchings and McDonald are mature, calm coaches who will coordinate, divide the responsibilities and do just fine as Co-coordinators. Both Bama and Clemson have Co-OCs and seem to be doing alright. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Saban does an interesting thing when Bama has the ball. He positions himself even with the safeties and watches to see what the defense is doing. If he sees something, he calls and tells the OCs but doesn't suggest a play or what to do.

    I'm sure the Bama coaches meet with Saban regarding offensive strategy but he doesn't try to do their job. I sense the same with Doeren. IMO Drink was too immature being an OC to be turned completely loose his first season. DD gave him a lot more freedom last year.

    My third concern -- more anxiety than concern -- is our defensive secondary. Gibson seems to be like Venebles at Clemson. He is interested in coaching defense, and not so much being an HC. There are signs that he has taken on the secondary and is being the Co-DC we expected with Ted Roof. This spring our secondary played with an aggressiveness I haven't seen before. Receivers who are used to catching the short pass without being pressured are in for a rude awakening.

    Since we are at it with the coaches, Marshall Special Teams and their ST coach impressed DD and DD does seem to have an eye for coaching talent. While I don't know if DD saw them in 2015, the Herd led the nation in ESPN.com’s Special Teams efficiency rating. I have neither the confidence nor lack of confidence our special team play be better but you know me -- the quintessential optimist -- I am optimistic our special teams will be improved.

    I had never heard of Kurt Roper before he was hired but his resume is impressive. And he was QB coach under Cutliffe at Duke. Cut got the credit but Roper was the coach. This has the possibility of turning out great -- just what we need with all the QB talent we have here and is considering coming here.

    Heck, Rye, Doeren ought to get Assistant Coach Recruiter of the Year. And he's not doing it throwing big bucks at them. He's selling them with his vision for NC State football and the player and coaching culture here. Impressive, I'd say. In 2 or 3 paragraphs a lot favorable things could be said about being an assistant under Doeren. Coaches don't make lateral moves off Doeren's staff, just promotions.

  • Vawolf82Vawolf82 Posts: 341PFN Referee

    Thanks to Backing the Pack for an interesting link showing that State has out-performed its recruiting rankings by 5 wins total over the last four years.

    BTP gives all of the credit to the coaching, but I'm not sure that the increase in results vs recruiting ranking isn't better attributed to the QB play. I could be wrong but I doubt it. :)


  • GreywolfGreywolf Posts: 654

    State has out-performed its recruiting rankings by 5 wins total over the last four years.

    For anybody interested in such things, EweNC has under-performed its recruiting rankings by 6 wins total over the last four years.

    The holes had excellent QB play 3 of the last 4 years and the QB rating for the one who wasn't considered to be so excellent was high. The QB play doesn't account for an 11 win difference (State +5/EweNC -6) Coaching is obviously the difference, not QB play.

    The holes are shitting themselves over the coaching change, not the new QB.

    The stats tend to show State coaches doing the best job in the conference working with material they have to work with. FIRE DOEREN!!

  • GreywolfGreywolf Posts: 654

    Speaking of recruiting...

    Reporter: "Mack, how do you manage these long recruiting trips?"

    Mack Brown:"Depends."

    Reporter: "Depends? What do you mean... Ugh,,, never mind."

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