Football. Is. Here.
There’s one thing I’ve actually completely forgotten about heading into today, and I’m still not sure if this is genius or insane. (There’s often a fine line between the two.) Tennessee Tech head coach Watson Brown has more or less created a new position — the quarterback wing. Essentially, it’s a second “quarterback” on the field at all times. This isn’t like the Wildcat – a formation that you see on occasion, this is his plan on virtually every offensive play.
Now, to be honest, I envision this position, which will be played by Darian Stone, more as a all-purpose back than a quarterback. Sure, he’ll throw some passes, but I have to wonder how many. It sounds fluky, if I’m being honest, but I’m willing to wager it’s going to throw more than a few defenses for a loop, especially early in the season. Too bad TTU kicks off their season against an NAIA team, because that means it will be another week at least before we can really see how effective this position will be.
You may be thinking to yourself — “you hate two quarterback systems. How are you okay with this?” Well, to be honest, I’m not. I’m skeptical, to say the least. But this is so unique, so new, I can’t really be completely against it…yet. I’ve seen more two-quarterback systems fail than succeed, and the best offenses year in and year out are led by one guy under center. Stone, per my understanding, won’t ever, or hardly ever, be under center. So, as I mentioned above, I’m not sure if Stone is “really” a quarterback, or just a running back that can throw.
It’s interesting. That’s about all I know.
First off, and most importantly — no injuries. This is important in every game, but when you’re playing a NAIA team, it really is the worst case scenario.
After that, it really depends on the team.
- Murray State: How does the young defense hold up. Murray State couldn’t stop the run last year — if they’re struggling to contain Union’s ground game, that’s cause for concern. I also need to see the secondary, which only has one player with game experience, make plays. I’m less worried about the deep ball as I am about stopping the “nickel-and-dime” offenses that gave them such trouble. If a team earns five yards a play — they’re going to be able to move the football.
- Tennessee Tech: Obviously, how the QW (quarterback wing) is used, although I bet they won’t be showing their entire playbook — no doubt teams will be watching. I’m wanting to see if they can stretch the field. They should be able to get guys open deep against Kentucky Christian: can Jared Davis connect with them. If TTU can’t stretch the field, I’m not sure it matters how unique their offense is.
- Eastern Illinois: Who plays best at quarterback, for one. I can’t imagine EIU uses a two-QB system throughout the season. If you play well against Minnesota, I’m confident you can play well when conference play begins. I don’t expect a big game out of Shepard Little — I would imagine Minnesota will hone on the back, which could leave opportunities for the passing game.
- Southeast Missouri: Can Kyle Snyder make passes. As I mentioned in SEMO’s preview, Snyder was a sub 50% thrower last year. It’s a new system — a pro system versus last year’s option offense. He’ll be better than 50% tonight. Can he get to 70% or 75% against a team that’s never played football before? If not, there’s cause for concern as the defenses get stiffer.
While it is opening day for football, I do want to point out a basketball article about former OVC sensation Isaiah Canaan, and his potential blossoming role in the NBA. With Jeremy Lin gone, Canaan will almost certainly see increased minutes in Houston next season. “Ridiculous Upside” posted a superb analysis of Canaan’s first season in the NBA — it’s a must read for Murray State, and OVC basketball fans in general.
Let me skip right to the end, though, and get to their conclusions. “Canaan is a tough player,” they write. “He plays with a lot of energy on the offensive end of the court and he has a knack for scoring. His 3-point shooting will be a much welcomed asset in Houston and it allows him to play off the ball; something Jeremy Lin couldn’t provide For those reasons alone, Canaan should fit in nicely as the backup point guard.”
It may be raining three’s soon in Houston.