Friday, March 28, 2014

Heisman Hopeful + Game Manager = ???

I was re-reading over Barrett Sallee's rundown of new SEC quarterbacks last night and naturally savored this portion for a spell:
Whoever wins the quarterback battle at Alabama will have a deep and talented corps of running backs and wide receivers to fall back on. New Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason has four years in the system, Heisman hopeful Todd Gurley at running back and depth at wide receiver and along the offensive line to help him out and the combination of South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson, head coach Steve Spurrier and running back Mike Davis is nothing short of scary.
It may be a down year in the SEC, and it may jump back to the top of the college football pack and win the national title. If it does struggle, don't point only to the quarterbacks. 
They're only one piece of the puzzle. As recent history shows, having a padded resume heading into the season isn't a prerequisite to success.  
The key to making a successful transition to a new starting quarterback is having him as close to mistake free as possible. There was a lot of talk last season of AJ McCarron being a "game manager", sometimes at the expense of him being considered "elite", ergo a serious Heisman contender. But the guy had a knack for keeping the game under control, at least as much as one player could. In fact, when McCarron took over for Greg McElroy in 2011 he only had five interceptions on the season.

The former Alabama quarterback aside, Georgia doesn't need Hutson Mason to blow the doors off each and every game. And while he'll surely see his share of moments when he has to make a play to help the team, for the most part he just needs to manage the huddle, get the offense out of bad plays and into good ones, hand the ball to Gurley and Marshall, and avoid costly errors.

I just made that sound much easier than it is in reality. But the truth is that Todd Gurley should drive the bus for Bobo's offense in 2014. That's really no secret as long as #3 can stay healthy. And if he does, then the odds of there being a Heisman hopeful, a game manager and a championship team being 'tween the hedges this fall will increase exponentially.