I've been ignoring this topic for some time and allowing it to fester in the comments section. I tried to supress it thinking I didn't want to be one of those media types that create quarterback controversies where there isn't one just to boost their readership. But then I remembered this is supposed to be a blog. And blogs are where people to go to discuss controversial issues. Plus I'm a whore and I want more readers. So let's have at it. Who's your quarterback? Here's my take.
Anthony Morelli has a cannon for an arm. He has a good build for a quarterback, but he doesn't move around very well. He seems tentative in the pocket and holds the ball too long often locking on his receivers and ignoring his checkdowns. He's only had four starts and two of them were against top 5 teams. On the year he has completed 64 of 117 (54.7%) for 655 yards, 4 TD and 4 INT. He is averaging 10.2 yards per completion and 5.6 yards per attempt. His QB efficiency rating is 106.2.
Daryll Clark is a Michael Robinson/Vince Young/Michael Vick type of quarterback. He prefers to beat you with his arm, but he'll scramble for the first down if you want to give it to him. He didn't practice in the spring and came into the fall the #4 QB on the team. He quickly worked his way up to #2 and has seen playing time in each of the last three games. On the season Clark is 6-12 for 61 yards. O TD and O INT. His quarterback efficiency rating is 92.7. But Clark also brings mobility to the table. He has rushed 8 times for 54 yards (6.0 ypc) and 2 TD. All of his time has come in mop up duty with the second team.
Thus far I think Morelli's problems have been all mental. The kid has the tools to succeed. He just holds the ball too long and doesn't look off the defenders. I commented that after throwing his third pick against Ohio State he looked completely shell shocked on the sideline. The poor kid just wasn't ready to lead his team from behind on the road against the #1 team in the country. He'll get there, but he's not there yet. His only success has come from teams whose mascots hail from the southern hemisphere (kangaroos and penguins). This is a key statistic you may see on College Gameday this weekend.
I don't think Daryll Clark has shown me enough to get the start, or even 50% of the playing time, from Morelli. Morelli is the best chance this team has to win now as well as down the road. But, and this may not sit well with some of you, I think Clark deserves to get some meaningful playing time. I'm thinking one seriese per half. I have a few reasons for this. For one, mixing it up with a different style quarterback can catch a defense off guard. Coming off the bench when Morelli struggles can give the offense a spark.
My other reason is preparedness. Remember after the Blue White game we were all raving about how great Morelli looked, but we were all scratching our heads about who would lead the offense if he gets hurt. Giving Clark, or whoever the #2 is, meaningful playing time prepares the team in the event the starter goes down. It also helps develope future starters. It's a sin that they could not find 50 snaps for Anthony Morelli in the past two seasons. Now we have a quarterback that is forced to learn as the starter. That should never happen again.
So there you have it. So let me have it. What are your thoughts? Should Clark be the #1 guy even though he is pretty much an unknown? Should he and Morelli split time? Or are you determined to ride the Morelli bus right off the cliff if you have to?