Murray State head coach Chris Hatcher announced today that quarterback Maikhail Miller has left the program for “personal reasons,” meaning the Racers will have to look for a new primary signal caller next season.
Miller was limited to just 10 games last season due to injury, but was by far the Racers leader in passing yards, and touchdowns, but he just barely led backup Parks Frazier in passing percentage and efficiency rating.
Although Miller’s numbers weren’t exactly gaudy, (especially when compared to the likes of Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garroppolo) the ‘Hatch Attack’ finished second in the league in passing, and the offense as a whole finished third in yards per game behind EIU and Jacksonville State.
So is Parks a viable option? In his two starts for the injured Miller, his passing numbers did hold up quite well:
|#14 FRAZIER, Parks||Comp-Att-Int||Pct||Yards||TD||Long||Sack-Yds||Effic|
Even more noteworthy is that both EIU’s and TSU’s defense were considered among the tops in the league. But Parks also represents a major style difference from Miller, who was a threat not only with his arm, but with his feet. Parks…isn’t.
Of course, in college football, quarterback sacks are figured into their rushing numbers, so Parks’ rushing wasn’t as bad as the 1.2 average may appear. In the end, the question isn’t just how well he can throw the ball, but can he be the whole package that the ‘Hatch Attack’ is known for.
The Racers do have other options in the backfield, the most noteworthy of which is KD Humphries. Humphries sat out the 2013 season, but in 2012 he earned the backup role, and saw limited action in five games. He’s just a redshirt sophomore, meaning he would have three years to develop, compared to Frazier’s one. Long-term, moving him into a starting role now might benefit the Racers down the road, but might cause for a more bumpy season ahead.
There’s always the possibility, of course, that the Racers go after a transfer quarterback, and Miller and Frazier compete instead for the backup job.
Regardless of which candidate gets the starting role, it’s clear the Racers defense will have to improve for Murray State to challenge in an increasingly competitive OVC.