March Madness is in full swing and college basketball is the primary focus of the sports world but college football never sleeps. TSS Associate Editors Bart Doan and Terry Johnson join Kevin Causey and a rotating special guest as we start our weekly roundtables discussing all things college football.
Today we have two roundtables looking at the most important position in sports, the quarterback. For our first roundtable today, we are sticking to the “Power 5” conferences and are joined by Kyle Kensing of CFBHuddle.com.
Question: You are the head coach of a prestigious University, which Power 5 QB would you pick to run your team?
On Twitter @Kensing45
Three games are not typically sample size enough to deem a quarterback the best around which to build a program–unless, of course, those three games are against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon.
Cardale Jones stormed onto the college football scene like a tank last season, which is fitting given he’s built like one. At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Jones looks like he would be just as comfortable blitzing the passer as being one himself.
He’s surprisingly nimble and quick for his size, yet able to overpower would-be tacklers on designed runs. Add his cannon arm, and Jones is the greatest physical outlier in college football since Cam Newton.
Meanwhile, Jones is only scratching the surface of his lofty potential. That’s a pretty bold statement for someone whose debut consisted of routing Wisconsin, torching Alabama and pounding Oregon en route to Big Ten and College Football Playoff championships.
On Twitter @TheCoachBart
Then you’re all, “oh, her? Wow.”
Jones isn’t the sole reason Ohio State went from “no way these guys should even be in it” to “wow, national champions, and it wasn’t even that close.” But he hand a hand in it, and you can’t replace the ability to be ready when called upon and doing it to perfection. Jones was being talked about after three starts as a guy who might potentially go to the NFL. That speaks to the natural ability people see on-film that know more than the rest of us do.
But he ended up not going, and even though he’s a lock, stock, and barrel guarantee to go should he remain upright and in a helmet after this year, that’s the guy you want if you have anyone you can choose. There are questions: how does he do needing one drive to win a game? What happens when the running game is totally shut down … can he win with his arm?
But there’s a lot to be said for not needing to win games with one drive to decide it; and clearly, Nick Saban of all people wasn’t prepared for his dual threat nature late in the first half of the Sugar Bowl-Semi-final whatever you want to call it. The one caveat is that film will allow coaches to understand what Cardale Jones is good at and what he struggles with. It will be nit picked over the off season. But until I see someone else that doesn’t do anything else other than just win, he’s my guy.
On Twitter @CFBZ
Where does one start when looking at the quarterback who will run your team and be the face of your college football franchise? My first inclination is to get somebody who fits in with the style that my offense will run and that’s why when I first thought about this question, I was looking at USC’s Cody Kessler. Kessler went under-the-radar last year despite putting up superstar numbers (69% completions, 3,800 yards, 39 TD vs 5 INT) and he would be my pick….if Deshaun Watson didn’t exist.
The first time I saw Watson was in Clemson’s blowout loss to Georgia in their 2014 opener and if the Clemson coaching staff wouldn’t have been so stubborn (by going with senior Cole Stoudt instead of the freshman Watson) they might have had a chance in that game. Watson first entered the game at the end of the first quarter with the Tigers trailing 14-7. Six plays later he hit Charone Peake on a 30 yard TD to tie the score. Watson was only given one more series until the fourth quarter when Georgia had already built a 23 point lead.
As a true freshman, who was not an early enrollee, Watson completed 67.9% of his passes and had a TD:INT ratio of 7:1. He also had five rushing TDs in eight games. Watson battled injuries last year but he’s a dynamic, high reward player and he’s the one I would have leading my offense. Oh yeah, he has also three years of eligibility left.
On Twitter @SectionTPJ
Just like Kyle above, I’d select Cardale Jones of Ohio State to lead my program.
This choice will obviously bother some people. After all, Jones was technically the third-string quarterback after losing a tight race to JT Barrett for the No. 2 spot behind Braxton Miller. That prompts the question: “If he’s not even the second best quarterback in Columbus, how’s he the best choice to run your fictitious program, Coach Johnson (and Coach Kensing)?”
My answer to that question would be: “just look what Jones did when he was on the field for the Buckeyes last season”. With Ohio State’s national championship hopes hanging in the balance, the relatively inexperienced signal caller played with the poise of Joe Montana, guiding the team to three straight victories over top 15 opponents. Jones was brilliant in these contests, connecting on 61.3% of his passes for average of 9.89 yards per completion. He also got the job done as a runner when the situation called for it, picking up several first downs on designed quarterback runs in both playoff games.
Let’s be honest: the Buckeye offense was much more dangerous with Jones under center. In his three starts, Ohio State averaged 544.3 yards and 47.7 points per game.
More impressively, Urban Meyer’s squad compiled these numbers against two defenses (Wisconsin and Alabama) that finished the season ranked in the top 12 in yards per game.
It’s tough to argue with those results.