‘The QB’

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Update: The paperback version of this book is out. While a good part of this book focuses on Johnny Manziel it also focuses on a lot of players who are now starting at the collegiate level. QB’s such as UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Auburn’s Sean White and Purdue’s David Blough

We highly recommend this book.


Bruce Feldman did it again. This time with his latest book, ‘The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks’. It’s an in depth and interesting read about all of the things being done to identify the next Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson.

The QB

‘The QB’ is a football fans book. If you are a casual fan, you may not enjoy it as much as a major football fan would. However, Feldman did a great job of reminding you who is who as he weaves between QB guru’s, high school prospects and Super Bowl winning QB’s. Feldman is able to pull all this together to give the reader a great understanding of the new process in which QB’s are being measured.

In some ways you could compare this book to Michael Lewis’ ‘Moneyball’. While the Oakland A’s had found a set of metrics that worked for them, people are still trying to find those to predict if a QB is going to be an NFL Hall of Famer or a National Championship team. The book dives into psychological angle of being a quarterback at the highest levels. One of the books major subjects Trent Dillfer believes that it is ‘nurture over nature’. Others rely on the metrics that they have always used like height and weight.

Feldman has written some good stuff in the past like his profile on current Washington State head coach Mike Leach. ‘The QB’ may be his best work yet. If you want to really understand why Tom Brady and Russell Wilson are leading their teams to yet another Super Bowl, read this book.

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Transfer Dreams

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

We posted a blog earlier this called ‘College Football Free Agency’. It reflects the trend in college football in which graduate players transfer schools for one last season on the gridiron and one last chance to impress pro scouts. While a player like former Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams has a lot of experience and success behind him, many transfers -graduate and undergraduate- don’t and end up leaving fan bases crying in their college football alumni mugs.

Wilson-NCSTATEEveryone wants to think of transfers, in particularly quarterbacks (QB), as the next great QB savior. Just like Troy Aikman did at UCLA or Scott Frost at Nebraska or ever Ryan Mallett at Arkansas. Really everyone wants it to be just like when Russell Wilson transferred from North Carolina State to Wisconsin and led the Badgers to a Big 10 title and berth in the Rose Bowl. Reality is Aikman, Frost, Mallet and Wilson are more of the exception than the rule. For everyone one of these guys there is a Danny O’BrienSam KellerRobert Marve or some other highly hyped kid who made a fan base believe they had a chance at a conference title.

O’Brien was barely ok at Maryland and then transferred to Wisconsin where the Badger faithful had dreams of another Russell Wilson dancing in their heads. Bottom line, he wasn’t very good. He could never win the QB job and ended up transferring to Catawba. Keller is more known for leading the lawsuit against EA Sports than for his QB play at Nebraska where he transferred to from Arizona State. Marve was highly touted, played at Miami and then moved on to Purdue where he couldn’t stay healthy on some pretty awful Boilermaker teams.

Mustain-ArkThe two most cautionary tales for fans should be those of former #1 recruits Mitch Mustain and Jake Heaps. Mustain started his career at Arkansas but transferred to USC after his freshman year. He played more games in one year at Arkansas than he ever appeared in at three years at USC. Heaps went from BYU to Kansas and then to Miami (he is originally from the Seattle area). He could never lock in a starting job at three different schools despite showing promise his freshman year at BYU.

Players transfer for all kinds of reasons but just because they transferred doesn’t mean they are going to fit in at their new school and lead it to victory. There are more cautionary tales than successful stories. While we’re probably only seeing the beginning of the transfer binge, especially when it comes to graduate transfers, it should go without saying that transfers are not always a saving grace. So for those fans in Eugene, Tallahassee, and Athens, just remember that the odds of this new transfer QB being the next Aikman, Frost or Wilson are pretty far off.

Extended Reading:

Jake Heaps

Mitch Mustain

Grantland

College Football Free Agency

College Football Free Agency

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Vernon Adams. It’s ok if you have never heard of him but he is the one causing a major ruckus on the college football landscape. Not because of what he has done the past three seasons at Eastern Washington but because he’s leaving there to play his final season at Oregon.

Vernon Adams

Adams is a 22 year old from Pasadena, CA. He started at quarterback for three years at Eastern Washington but since he is graduating in May he is taking advantage of an NCAA rule that allows him to transfer without having to sit out a year. While Eastern Washington is letting him go they are making it very clear that they do not like the rule. They don’t like it so much that they are barring Adams from using the football facility or working out with his former teammates while he finishes up his degree.

Other coaches at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level are not happy with what this could mean for the future.  Montana State coach Rob Ash is among those speaking out against the rule because it makes the FCS seem like a developmental league. The fear is that this could start a trend where fifth year FCS players leave for the big schools like Oregon or a Michigan who get to reap the rewards of a veteran collegiate player.

Adams on the move

It’s not just the FCS that has to worry. Ohio State head coach expressed his unhappiness with certain members of the media trying to entice Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller to transfer. Nor is transferring a guaranteeing you a starting spot. Just ask Jake Coker who transferred from Florida State to Alabama this past summer.

Transfers are nothing new to collegiate athletics. Players have been doing it for years and it mostly goes unnoticed. When it comes to quarterbacks though, it tends to get a lot attention. Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson left North Carolina State for Wisconsin and promptly led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl. While Wilson’s case was unique (he was essentially told by the NC State coaching staff that future pro Mike Glennon was going to play over him) it now seems that everyone is looking for an experienced QB to step in and lead the team to the promised land. With all of the pressure put on coaches nowadays can you blame them for looking for an experienced QB to step in?

Players always have their reasons for transferring. It’s not fair to Eastern Washington that Adams is transferring but neither would be holding him back because you don’t want him to leave. In the business world there are ‘non competes’ and there is a similar thing in college football too where a coach will put restrictions on where a player can transfer. Eastern Washington could have done this since they play Oregon the first week of the season but it would have been a bad PR move.

Is Adams setting a trend for FCS players? Probably not because too many things have to fall into place for something like this to happen. Are you going to see more situations like this? Sure but it’s no sure fire way to win championships. Remember, Russell Wilson may have led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl but they ended up losing to Oregon.

The Play That Won’t Go Away

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

It’s no secret that the Seattle Seahawks called a pass play on 2nd and goal instead of a run play. It’s been debated, replayed and questioned to death but it just won’t die. In reality it’s death has provided us with a clinic on how to handle defeat.

We’re not going to replay what happened because you already know. What’s more impressive is that this play will not go away. We couldn’t forget last years Super Bowl quickly enough and now we don’t seem to want to let this one go. From major media companies to the social media stratosphere. What’s being called the ‘worst play call in Super Bowl history’ has a life of it’s own.

If you were watching the Boston Bruins at New York Rangers game on NBCSN you probably saw a tease for the Today show on Thursday where Matt Lauer sits down with Pete Carroll. It’s being promoted like a major expose or something.

Pete Carroll on Today

Even the opposing coach, Bill Belichick, is telling people to back off. Like a lot of us, Belichick knows that A) it was a great play by New England Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler and B) if Butler doesn’t make the play people would be pushing for Belichick and Tom Brady to retire and talking about a dynasty out in Seattle.

Instead of questioning we should be celebrating how head coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson are handling the situation. They, and just about the rest of the Seattle organization, has handled the repeated questions with grace and dignity. Their coolness under fire should become a college course they’ve done it so well.

It’s called a game of inches for a reason. Now the repercussion of those inches has a life of it’s own. From the Washington Post to twitter to the intro of the Nashville Predators mascot Gnash (‘He knows to run the ball on 2nd and goal!’) before a home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. You can’t escape it no matter how well the principles handle the onslaught.