Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Why It Makes Sense to Not Name a Starting QB (Yet)

Here we are with just two and a half weeks before the season opener, and, according to most credible reports, the coaching staff has not yet decided who will lead the Dawgs' offense. They definitely haven't named a starter publicly. Some have speculated that Greyson Lambert, fresh off a transfer from UVA, will be the starter. Others have long held that Brice Ramsey will nail down the job, or at least, that it's "his to lose" (which also suggests that it's not "his" at all, but I digress). Faton Bauta, meanwhile, is reportedly the early odd man out, which begs the question, why would you bother rotating him in at this point if he wasn't still firmly in the race? But, you already know all that, even if you've just been ducking your head in at the daily updates. We can rule a couple things out in terms of Richt and staff playing this one close to the vest. First, there's no reason nor opportunity for the element of surprise; they'd only be surprising ULM and Vandy. Second, while each candidate brings a little something different to the table, no single QB is so drastically different than the others that it makes sense to go w/ the (gasp) two-headed quarterback scenario, at least, not schematically. So, those reasons aside, what the hell's taking so long? First off, we're dealing with a transfer who just got the playbook a few months ago, and has only been officially practicing with the team for 2 weeks. I'll make the assumption that, while he almost certainly started at the back of the pack, he's made enough progress for the coaches to say, "he's come this far in 2 weeks, so what might he look like in another two weeks?" In other words, if the game was tomorrow, we might see Ramsey or Bauta, but it's not. Ramsey/Bauta might be better right now, but will they be better come kickoff? If Lambert is close enough to being #1, then the staff has to give it more time. Secondly, and this only applies if you're a true believer in head games, the staff needs to find out which, if any, of the candidates can deal with the daily pressure. It's getting to the point of 'win or go home' in a manner of speaking. Obviously, whoever's second in the pecking order stands a decent chance of playing anyway, either by injury to or ineffectiveness of the initial starter. But, generally speaking, if Lambert, Ramsey, or Bauta were to have an especially off day this late in the process, that might put him too far back to catch up. That's a lot of pressure to deal with. It's nothing compared to the pressure of a prime time showdown against a top 10 team, but it's as close as you can get at this point. Who can best handle the rigors? Lastly, there has to be a calculated assessment of strengths and weaknesses. I have no idea if Richt and Schottenheimer have a weighted scale or anything like that, but the bottom line is that they have to measure the pros and cons of each guy. And, it goes far, far beyond saying, "This guy knows the system better, but this guy has been more accurate." Percentages to be weighed surely include: Percentage of playbook knowledge/expertise, what percentage of the playbook is the QB physically able to run (with confidence), getting into the right play pre-snap, post snap adjustments (check down vs. taking a sack vs. throwing it away, etc), turnovers, and passing accuracy to name a few. From there, they've got to check the drive charts. Under which QB do we move the ball most effectively? Does any one QB seem to have the team behind him more than another? Taking all those percentages and measurements into account along with a few dozen other criteria, you begin to understand that the best thing is to keep on keeping on until they're sure. They have the luxury this year of being able to sacrifice a few pre-season reps for the eventual starter because we open with (all due respect) Louisiana-Monroe. The reps will be there before the meat of the season begins, so we're better off giving this thing a little more time now, rather than rushing it because of some sense that a starter must be named sooner than later.


  1. If we could only combine Ramsey's skills, Lambert's experience, and Bauta's leadership and knowledge, we might have someone behind center that everyone felt comfortable with!

  2. Add in the liver of Dean Martin, and you've really got something.