Thursday, August 10, 2006

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?



Anonymous said...

How can you say Hill hasn't realized what has been going on? He's the coach, so basically he's telling everyone it's an open competition, but actually, it's not a competition at all. I can't get a comment out of my head that Hill made when Norton was signed. He said that he didn't want to make the same mistake with Norton that he made by not going after Ryan Dinwiddie. That one backfired on him and he didn't want it to happen again. It makes me wonder if he only signed Norton to keep him from going to Boise State. I'm not sure if Norton was even recruited there, but it seemed like Coach Hill almost meant he was just covering his bases rather then really believing Norton could be a great QB for the Dogs.

gofsudogs2006 said...

I think the Norton-Brandstater qb situation is a problem that is only going to get worse throughout the season. The only way we are going to see this problem disappear is if Brandstater plays lights out from day one. It is becoming obvious to me from all of the reports that Norton is not going to be the starter and what I find funny is everyone who has watched the two throw the ball seem to think Norton is superior with respect to his skills. So in other words the more skilled qb with more fire and natural team leadership is going to be our backup.

Anonymous's comment about Norton being recruited to keep him from Boise is interesting because I could see it being true. The one thing I hope doesn't happen is Norton transferring if he sees no future for himself at FSU. If he leaves I know it is going to come back to bite us in the ass. I support Hill for the most part but the way he handles qb's definitely has to be one of his weaker points as a coach. Sometimes being stubborn doesn't get you the results you want, I just wish Hill would realize that.

Anonymous said...

i have watched all but 3 works out this fall and talked with a few players from the team regarding the qb situation. first, tb has the support of every player ive talked to and to them its not even close who they want and think will be starting in sept. second, sn has got a fair shot. the only difference between 1st and 2nd team reps is the o-line and defense. the offense subs in new players with 1st and 2nd string guys with both qbs. so sn goes against 2nd string defensive players with 1st string weapons and 1st on 1st with tb. something else to think about and just my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

Just a few things, First, Hill has produced three NFL QB's during his tenure. To think he does not know how to handle them seems absurd.

Second, Hill has been very consistent in his commitments. In past years he had no issue naming a QB and sticking with them (recall the Jeff Grady situation.) If Hill says the competition is open then it is probably open. Hill has always been open and steadfast, even in the midst of withering critique. Why would he attempt a doublecross now?

Third, recruiting Norton to avoid him going to Boise. Huh? Are you kidding? Hill does not recruit to avoid a player from going to another school. Dinwiddie wanted to come to Fresno, was snubbed and then proceeded to tear us apart for three years. Hill did not recruit due to his size. We should actually be giving him a little credit for changing an opinion and admitting a mistake.

Anyway, nothing I have read, seen or heard indicates Norton has won the job. If Norton cannot win it outright then what is the argument? Branstater has the respect of the team and is a good leader. Unless Norton can wrest that job away with superior play, he should be with the second team.

Health Insurance Expert said...

Hi this is John from the Washington Husky Football blog. Just wanted to say thanks for the link and best of luck for the season. will be interesting to see who wins the nod at QB for FSU.

Anonymous said...

Fresno State Univ. SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Fresno State Univ. SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Boise State is Better!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Way Better. By the way I do not go to Boise State but, I do live in Boise.