Fever's Take: The Quarterback Competition
Foreword: fsufever is a very dedicated fan, and he has attended just about every spring, summer and fall practice during the Pat Hill era. He is just not a random fan with an opinion. His insight is one of kind and very few, if any, can match his knowledge of the Fresno State practice regime. In other words he knows his stuff....Especially when it comes to seeing if a player is getting his fair shot!
The Quarterback Competition
(Just the personal opinion of fsufever)
Let’s review what the “competition” has been. Tom Brandstater has always worked out with the First String all this past spring, all this summer, and this Fall. I believe he started out with this perk because of him being at Fresno State one more year and being the Backup last season. That makes sense. But once he was put in that position then he had the advantage of ALWAYS starting in EVERY practice and always with the First String. He certainly did not look either better than or even as good as Norton at the beginning but he was placed in the starting position and it’s never changed. Sean Norton always comes in for his series AFTER Brandstater is through. Sean Norton always initially works with the Backups.
To me, if you want to say you are conducting a competition at any position, then you give each Player the same opportunities. I do not believe that this has happened and I do not believe that it will. You should not say “we’re giving each Player a chance to show what he can do” and then not give him an equal chance to display his abilities.
The only truism about this “competition” is that Steve Hagen works very hard with both men on every play involving Pass Training. He’s done a wonderful job and after each man throws his pass or series of passes Coach Hagen will critique how he did. He makes suggestions and illustrations of how they might have done something better. This is the first time that I have seen this at Fresno State as the norm has been to throw pass after pass in drills with little or no feedback. Steve Hagen has laid the groundwork for wins we may not have gotten without this training. But let’s face it; he has not had to work too hard with Norton.
He has taken Brandstater and made him into a very good Quarterback. He has changed his footwork and his focus and helped his delivery. I have seen tremendous changes in his consistency and accuracy in the past six months. I would have not believed it possible for him to change so much since the Spring Practice but I have watched him throw hundreds of passes since then and his improvement has been steady and solid. Norton was always a better Passer and I believe he’s still a better Passer and he probably will be a better Passer next year. But there are other things that go into the selection and a primary one is the simple fact that Brandstater has always been treated as the Starter. That’s the way they look at it. That’s not an equal competition.
I don’t know which man will deliver better under fire butdo know that History shows us Sean Norton has delivered time after time. record is far superior to any other Quarterback that has ever signed with Fresno State. He alone can throw the variation of passes that depend on the situation and his timing is wonderful. But is he getting an equal chance to compete? How would you feel mentally if you were always treated as Second String? It’s got to be a tougher platform to work on when you always have the next best Players blocking, running and catching for you.
I don’t think you can find a nicer person or a harder worker than Brandstater. I know he will be prepared every time he goes into a game. He will give it everything he has and that will probably be good enough to win most games for us. But we will never know if he’s the best QB on the Fresno State team unless everything is equal. If Coach Hill wants to be fair he will start Sean Norton Saturday night and every day left of practice. Will he, I don’t think so.
I don’t believe that Coach Hill ever intended this situation to occur.I believe he is a very honorable man and I’m not sure that he realized that it went along this same way Practice after Practice. I’m afraid that Sean Norton “competitive” chances are gone.
Is it possible they never existed?