Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Quick Post: Has a front-runner in the QB battle been established?

QB competitions are always rife with speculation and innuendo.  Throw in a blanket media ban on attending practices, and the guess-a-thon goes into hyper-active.

As the full-time battle between Connor Wood, Jordan Webb, and Nick Hirschman winds through it's 2nd week, the general assumption amongst the media is that a front-runner has been established, if not named.  It's long been the fan consensus that, while Hirschman was the primary backup last year, and even grabbed a few snaps last year, the in-program QB was not really an option.  It's transfers Webb and Wood that are considered "serious candidates for the job," and recent quotes may have hinted that the coaching staff is leaning towards one over the other.

The first quote came from QB coach Rip Scherer: "It's easier to make up 15 days of spring practice than it is 19 starts." The second, and probably the more eye-opening, was from Coach Embree in regards to Wood: "We need him to be more consistent in his decision making.  He needs to continue to work his accuracy.  He's sometimes erratic with his throws." 

The coaching staff seems to be hinting that, not only are they swayed by Webb's in-game experience, but that Wood is not nearly impressive enough to overcome his playing-time deficiency.  This feeds into a general narrative.  It seems that every time that Coach Embree and crew discuss the QBs, they rave about Webb, using words like "experience."  When discussing Wood, it's almost as if they're looking for reasons to doubt, adding qualifiers to his attributes.  He's got the "big arm," and "has a good grasp of the offense," but he's "sometimes erratic."   

Football coaches love intangibles.  When one guy is being praised with words like "experience," "presence," "leadership" (not to mention being compared favorably to CU legend Koy Detmer), while the other is mentioned for his skill, but has his "consistency" questioned, it's easy to assume who has the lead.

The good news continues to be that this is a honestly open QB competition.  During the Hawk years, the QB race was one in name only.  The thankfully departed former coach would leave the race "open" more as a disinformation tactic than genuine search for a starter.  Coach Embree and crew seem to be open minded about the race, and are leaving it open as a result of healthy competition.  I don't see that indecision in August as a problem unless it begins to overshadow performance in September.

There's been plenty of talk that the competition may bleed over into the season, but I'm starting to feel that might not be necessary.  Embree himself said that he's looking to this Saturday's scrimmage as an important milestone on the timetable.  Buff Nation should know much more after the weekend.

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