Over the past few days I have read countless messages covering the topic of everyone's favorite QB Tom Brandstater. I have to say it is actually quite funny to see such a discrepancy with respect to what the fans truly think about Tom. A large group of fans do not approve of him and I can see their point. A smaller group of fans do approve of Tom and I can see where you are coming from as well. My opinion on Tom is to sit in the middle and see how the situation plays out. Earlier in the year I had a stretch of six or seven posts in a row where all I did was complain about the Bulldogs QB position and how I did not approve of Tom. I felt very good about having Sean Norton in the game but felt he was not given a fair shot. However, my concentration of this post is not whether Norton received a fair shot this past season or not, but instead if he will receive one over the offseason. I also want to focus on if Tom has truly earned the starting QB position with his play over the past ten games.
First and foremost there is absolutely no way Brandstater's play has warranted him a guaranteed spot as the starting QB for next season. With throwing totals of 155, 99, 109, and 143 against Utah State, New Mexico State, Idaho, and La. Tech there shouldn't even be talk about the QB position being locked up. Brandstater has not come through when we needed him to and I do not feel he has done a good enough job to warrant him as the starter for 2007. At the same time that does not mean he cannot practice hard enough to change this over the off-season. Brandstater's biggest problem is not his size or arm-strength. God was kind enough to bless him with both of those aspects to make him a college football QB. His problem is field vision and Brandstater needs to go back to the drawing board with respect to this aspect of college football. Against La. Tech countless times Brandstater hit his receiver but only after he was open for a good two to three seconds of waiting. Crawley's great catch in the end zone should have been a bullet right into his chest as he stood open in the end zone for two seconds before Brandstater was able to connect with him. I do not have a problem with a receiver not being seen from time to time, but the truth is Brandstater has missed so many receivers with respect to vision that I cannot even recall the correct number. Norton seemed to hit receivers as soon as they were open on their respective side of the field. But once again Pat favors Brandstater so that is something we as fans are going to have to deal with for a while.
Over the offseason Norton should have a fair shot at the starting QB position but I have a feeling that is not going to happen. Next year we will have four (yes four) QB's competing for the starting job with Norton, Brandstater, Faulkner (likely redshirt, the new QB's always do), and Colburn. There will be no room for error for Brandstater next season as he will have even more competition. I hear very good things about Colburn but until I see him perform on the field I will continue to question the strengths of each of these QB's. Yes Brandstater has a strong arm, but has he used it to his advantage this season? How many deep balls has he thrown to receivers down field? Even more importantly, how many of these balls have been caught by our sure handed receivers? As you can see my faith in the QB position has been completely shaken because of this season, and the truth is if it is not fixed by the beginning of next season this team is going to suffer through another 2006 season.
In the end what would it mean for the Bulldogs to continue a downward spiral with respect to the football program? First and foremost many of the fans will stop attending games (loss in revenue), as was shown in the last two home games of the season. Secondly, ESPN stated they will not allow Fresno State to have another down season. In other words if this happens again our national reputation will slowly disappear (If it hasn't already). Lastly we may begin to lose out on recruits. True this season's recruits already are looking very good, but if Pat Hill does not figure out a way to fix the QB position it will not matter in the end. With a better QB we will score more points. Scoring more points allows the defense more room for error meaning we can gamble more often and make plays. More plays on defense allows more opportunities to score on offense. Overall there is not a more important position than QB. Brandstater needs to improve his game if he wants to lead this team to cheers instead of boos. Without a QB this team will struggle next season. Remember if Brandstater struggles next season we will not have Dwayne Wright to fall back on. Truthfully that is something I do not even want to think about, and I know everyone who reads this blog will agree.