Monday Thoughts: Quarterbacks and Basketball

Brewer’s transfer helps solidify the quarterback depth chart

There’s going to be a lot of debate from now through August on who will be Tech’s starting quarterback in 2014.  I’m on record as saying that I believe more than one quarterback will start for the Hokies this season.  I don’t know whether that will be because of injury, poor play, or whatever, but I think two different players will start under center for Tech this fall.

I actually said that before Michael Brewer made his decision to transfer to Virginia Tech, and now that Tech will have a second quarterback with some experience, I think it has an even greater chance of happening.

I touched on this on Friday, and I want to say it again for those who didn’t ready Friday’s Q&A: even if Michael Brewer doesn’t play for the Hokies, his mere presence on the depth chart will allow Tech to redshirt Andrew Ford and Chris Durkin.  That’s important.  Ju-Ju Clayton never played a meaningful down for Tech, but had he not been on the roster in 2009, the Hokies would have been forced to play Logan Thomas in a backup role as a true freshman, and thus his career would have ended following the 2012 season.

I’m always in favor of redshirting quarterbacks if possible, or unless they are just so good that you can’t keep them off the field.  Remember, as good as Tyrod Taylor was, the coaching staff tried to redshirt him twice.  Ultimately they weren’t able to do so, but the point still stands that 5-star quarterback Tyrod Taylor ideally should have been redshirted.  Do you think 3-star quarterbacks Andrew Ford and Chris Durkin will be any different?

Mark Leal will enter the spring as the #1 guy on the depth chart, and I think it’s very likely that he’s still there at the conclusion of Spring Practice.  If anybody is going to challenge him, it’s going to be Michael Brewer, who won’t arrive until the summer.  Brenden Motley will have a shot this spring and in August, and I’m not counting him out, but I do think it’s unlikely because he just doesn’t have the experience in a passing offense (Wing-T in high school).

Mark Leal will have the advantage of being a r-senior who will have gone through two springs under Scot Loeffler.  Michael Brewer’s first practice will be in August, and he’ll have just a month to learn the system and prove that he can execute it at a higher level than Leal.  That’s not going to be easy, though Brewer is obviously a sharp guy who will graduate from Texas Tech at the conclusion of his r-sophomore season.

One important thing to remember is this: the competition won’t necessarily be over when practice ends in August.  It’s my opinion that Mark Leal will start Tech’s season opener against William & Mary.  However, Michael Brewer will still be practicing and getting a lot of reps, and if he continues to progress throughout the first month of the season and Leal doesn’t play well in early season tests against Ohio State, ECU and Georgia Tech, then I think Brewer will be close enough at that point in time to give the coaching staff something to think about.

I think Mark Leal is better than he showed in the Sun Bowl, but I also think that Michael Brewer will start at some point in 2014.  I don’t know why he’ll start.  It could be because of injury, not-so-good play by Leal, or maybe because Brewer just beats him out in practice.  I don’t know if it will be at the beginning of the season, the middle, or the end.  But my opinion is that Tech will start two guys at quarterback this year.

Regardless of who starts and when, Brewer’s presence makes me feel better about quarterback for both 2014 and 2015.  Here’s how I think the depth chart will look coming out of August of 2014:

1: Mark Leal (r-Sr.)
2: Michael Brewer (r-Jr.)
3: Brenden Motley (r-So.)
4: Andrew Ford (Fr.)
5: Chris Durkin (Fr.)

With that amount of depth at the first three spots, then it appears that there will be no need to play Andrew Ford or Chris Durkin unless it’s absolutely necessary.  I think there’s a very strong chance that both of those guys redshirt