Doug Smock has just a jewel of an article in this morning's Charleston Gazette. Let's get right down to picking this thing apart.
HUNTINGTON — Is there room for two quarterback controversies on the same football team?
Oops, there I am, being the troublemaker again. Mea culpa.
I told you this was going to be a good one. Marshall, a team that went 5-7 last year, has not one, but two quarterback controversies? One is bad enough, but two is probably going to result in gunfire.
But seriously, there are indeed two levels of interest at the quarterback position at Marshall. For starters, there is Brian Anderson’s quest to run down incumbent Bernard Morris and seize the No. 1 spot. Then there is the battle of the well-touted true freshmen, Mark Cann vs. Chris Smith.
Glad we got serious, Doug.
Though I wish you wouldn't tell me that there are two levels of interest at the quarterback position at Marshall. Let the reader decide for themselves. My decision is that, instead of two, there are negative four levels of interest.
First, the big battle, which is becoming fun to watch. I know, I know, the Chuck Spearman/Alex English faction of fans crowned Anderson the best man last spring, and probably wants Cann to start against Miami 19 days from now. But objectively, this race is now getting good.
I have absolutely no idea what this means. Alex English played in the NBA in the late 70s and throughout the 80s, mostly with the Denver Nuggets. I googled "Chuck Spearman" and couldn't find anything, so I am just going to assume he is a figment of Doug's imagination. So, apparently, the made-up person/80s NBA player faction of fans thought Anderson was great last year and wants Cann to start against Miami this season.
Glad we settled that.
Let's skip ahead a few paragraphs...
His biggest play, a 41-yard bomb to [Darius] Passmore, can be debated. Passmore was wearing two defenders and still caught the ball with some ease — kind of reminiscent of 10 years ago when Chad Pennington tossed it in the general direction of another No. 88, and all defenders were helpless to do anything about it.
So the big question: Was it a good decision or not by Anderson?
Yes, let's go ahead and compare Brian Anderson to Chad Pennington and Darius Passmore to Randy Moss. This seems logical. Anderson is white, Pennington is white. They both play QB. Passmore is black, Moss is black. They both play WR. Perfect.
"[He’s pushing Morris] a lot," Snyder said. "We’re giving them equal reps and Brian’s doing OK, and Bernie’s doing OK. Both of them still can get better. We’ve got a long way to go."
Morris wasn’t incompetent Saturday, going 6-of-10 for 52 yards. He had a little bad luck himself — Zearrick Matthews broke up what looked like a sure touchdown pass to Passmore. He threw a good pass to Spann on the far sideline, made a good check-down or two, etc.
Bernie Morris wasn't incompetent? Don't believe it. I need to see video confirmation of this before I'll allow Doug Smock to convince me of this.
But he had his off moments. Aaron Johnson muffed a "pick-six" deep in the offense’s territory, on a ball Morris should never have thrown. Michael Janac rejected another pass, but could well have pulled it down for another interception.
That's more like it. All is right with the world again. The sky is blue and Bernie Morris sucks. Whew.
At this point, I guess I should deal with the second of the negative four QB battles in Marshall camp this fall. It's Cann vs. Smith, which is like Ali-Frazier, except not.
Then there is Cann vs. Smith, and this isn’t just a down-the-road deal. While both figure to keep their redshirts, barring disaster, the winner stands to travel on road trips — and perhaps sneak ahead of Wesley Beardain on the depth chart.
(Beardain, who has to lead all QBs in interceptions and near-picks in camp, had a big scrimmage himself, going 5-of-7 for 105 yards.)
I’ve already heard the murmurs: Smith has the inside lane here and always will, being from across the river and with Snyder knowing his father well, and all that stuff.
Phooey on that, I hope.
Good use of the word "phooey." I have no joke for that.
As for the actual battle, they're going to give it to Chris Smith because he's from hell (read: Ohio) and Snyder knows his dad? What is this, little league? I would definitely base my subsidized athletic department's future on these two factors. Good work Mark Snyder.
You know how Rich Rodriguez always talks about his young son committing to play for the Mountaineers as a QB? If it is up to Snyder, I think he'd go ahead and play him now. Sure he's like 5 years old and we have all-American Pat White, but fuck it. Let's go with who we know.