After watching our three QB's this past Saturday at the Bulldogs first scrimmage I obviously have my opinion of who shined with their performance and who didn't. I will be the first to say that Brandstater looked far and away better than he did at this point last season, but remember he is in his second season as our starter and third year overall. Brandstater should be outperforming the other QB's on this team with ease. He should step on the field and take command of the team as soon as his presence is known. Overall the offense looked far better than the defense this past weekend. If I were to sum up the performance of the three QB's it would go as follows:
Tom Brandstater - Tom looked comfortable in every set aside third and long. When he was forced into third and long he seemed lost on the field. I still don't feel like Brandstater goes through his progressions well, and have to say that we will not be seeing the deep ball often with him at QB. Unless the play called is a fly pattern to a speedy receiver Brandstater is not going to throw the ball deep. He often gets confused on third downs and seems to lose his place on the field. If there is a down where he tends to throw off of his back foot because he seems a bit rushed it is the third and long situations. However, I am not going to sit here and put this man down because he did finish 12 for 16 and threw for far more yards than he ever has before. Overall after our first scrimmage I was impressed with what Brandstater showed. Look, this guy is never going to be David Carr or Billy Volek. Instead he can be another Paul Pinegar but he will have to limit his mistakes and learn to progress through his receivers a bit better. Brandstater still looks as if he locks on to the receivers from time to time and in the end that is going to lead to far more mistakes than this Bulldog defense will be able to make up for. Overall I would give Brandstater a solid "B" grade for his performance as he showed us that he may be able to take this offense much further than he has in the past.
Ryan Colburn - Of the three QB's Colburn left us with the worst impression of the night. Colburn ran his reps with the second team. At times he looked very poised as if he could take over for this team if we needed him to, but other times left us thinking we may be in trouble if Tom does not get the job done as the starter. Colburn has a good arm, I cannot discount that. He also has the size to play QB for this team but more and more I feel like his high school competition is what has hindered his progression. I don't believe that coming from a Division five California school truly prepared him for what he would experience in college at a Division one school. Although Fresno State plays in the WAC I feel that Colburn is going to continue to struggle if he is put into game situations. I will give him more time to develop because hell we have given Tommy three years of second chances. As of right now I would have to say that Colburn has a lot of work to do to become the QB of this team. I think at times he gets flustered as the QB and when he rolls out he does not know what to do with the ball. As I stated earlier if Colburn is forced to play this season I do not see a positive outlook on the QB position. Overall I would give Colburn a "C" for his performance in the scrimmage.
Matt Faulkner - I did not see Faulkner practice before the Saturday scrimmage. All I knew about him was what I had seen in his high school tapes and what Mario had said about the way he practiced this past week. I expected Faulkner to look lost on offense. I expected Faulkner to have some serious problems finding open receivers. I was completely wrong. Now before I talk about how impressed I was by Faulkner I will state that he did play the third team defense. But in his defense he was working with the third team offense as well. First and foremost one aspect that Faulkner seems to have grasped well is patience. On his long TD pass to Lang down the left side Faulkner waited until Lang beat his cover man down the left side. I have to say for a kid fresh out of high school Faulkner seems to have the mentality to make it as a QB. He did not struggle with any aspect of the game. If he improved this much in one weeks time can we expect this kid to come around down the line and eventually take over this team two years from now? If he can continue to progress the way he has in the past two weeks then Faulkner one day will be the starter for this team. However that is a big if as we all know progressing over time means very little if he cannot get the job done in a game. Overall I would give Faulkner a "B+" for his performance Saturday night.
One thing you have to remember when looking at the grades I gave the three QB's is that I am grading them on my expectations for them. I expected Brandstater to blow away the defense because he has four years of knowledge with this team. I expected much more from Colburn that what I saw, and I definitely did not expect Faulkner to perform as well as he did. So while Faulkner received a better grade than Tom I do not think he necessarily outperformed Tom, he just surprised me more than Brandstater did. Tomorrow I will cover problems on defense and what will have to be done in order to make up for the tremendous loss of Lane at LB. Let me know what you thought of the QB's Saturday night. I know we won't always agree on what we saw out there, but it's good to get a feel for what everyone thought of the scrimmage and how it went.