2013 QB Situation

Submitted by sheepdog on February 6th, 2012 at 9:32 AM

I read this article this morning talking about our QB situation for the 2012 season.  They are obviously trying to create buzz by the title, but the article basically says there is no QB controversy.  I agree.

Moving on to 2013 when we basically have:

Devin Gardner - 2 years elg. left (pending probable RS)

Shane Morris - True Freshman

Russell Bellomy -3 year elg. left (RS Sophomore)

What are the chances we see Sugar Shane starting in the 2013 season?  If not at the beginning, then at least by the end?  Obviously, this depends on the development of Devin this year, and how good Shane is when he hits campus.  But, I think pretty good.

The coaches are always saying the best 11 will play.  You also tend to see young QBs come in and play early when the system is changing or there is no real good upperclassmen options.  Example would be Chad Henne is 2004 or Braxton Miller last year.

So, if Shane can come in and compete better or as well as Devin, and Shane is presumably the future of the program, Shane should play - there is so much upside to this decision.  But, what happens to Devin?  Obviously, the kid is a freak athlete and can contribue, but if not at QB, where?

Just interested in the board's thoughts on a slow day awaiting Alex Kozan's decision.



February 6th, 2012 at 9:36 AM ^

I think you overestimate how good Shane will be when he sets foot on campus.  Devin will have had 2 years in the current system and 3 years of practice at the collegiate level.  Remember, he was just as highly rated as Shane likely will be coming out of high school.  Gardner also has the right skillset to run more of a West Coast offense than we are currently running.  I'll put money on Gardner being the starter until he leaves/graduates.


February 6th, 2012 at 9:38 AM ^

People put way too much stock into how Devin looked at QB when he was thrown in for random plays last season. Dude is supposed to be pretty damn good and don't underestimate Bellomy either. I don't see a good reason to start a true freshman under those circumstances.


February 6th, 2012 at 9:42 AM ^

I would much rather see Shane RS in his freshman year. I think that if he is thrown the starting role we may be in some trouble as far as QB depth because to me that would mean that both Devin and Bellomy couldn't step up or they were injured. There is no doubt Shane is a great talent but a RS year can only help his delvelopment into a college star.


February 6th, 2012 at 9:57 AM ^

I'm not for sure, but if Morris gets a RS wouldn't that only leave Devin and Bellomy for QB?  You need at least three capable QB's on your team.  All it takes is a freak injury or a lack of judgement and your starting QB is out.  That could happen even before the first game in 2013.  I wonder if Morris plans on enrolling early?


February 6th, 2012 at 1:53 PM ^

And you can even do the real-life redshirting method in the game. I had a year where I just used my K for punting and kicking since he was so much better at both. At the end of the year I had never put my punter in so he got an automatic redshirt.  Only thing is that for most positions, the computer will throw in the 3rd string at some point and with only 70 slots, more than likely everyone will be rotated throug. 


February 6th, 2012 at 10:05 AM ^

You don't hand out a redshirt at the beginning of the year.  The coaches can decide to redshirt Shane, but in the unlikely event that the need arises, he can still play and burn the redshirt.  We will in effect have 3 capable QB's on the team with the intent of redshirting Shane.


February 6th, 2012 at 9:44 AM ^

Henne got the start in the first game of his freshman season solely because of an injury to Matt Guiterrez. Didn't have anything to do with a changing system or lack of options in classes ahead of him.

D.C. Dave

February 6th, 2012 at 2:13 PM ^

If Gutierrez had not injured his throwing shoulder in preseason practice, he would've started ahead of Henne.

My prediction is that Gardner starts for two years -- the second one is contingent on him getting the medical redshirt for 2010 -- that Morris plays little if at all his first year, and then gets more time his second year. I don't see any way that Morris arrives on campus ahead of Gardner, who is a very talented player.

I also could even Morris taking a redshirt year if he is not needed his first season, which would mean Bellomy is the backup and that Bellomy has developed into a pretty good player, which is how the coaches view him. Borges keeps saying everyone is going to be surprised when they see Bellomy play, and I don't think that is false praise.


February 6th, 2012 at 9:47 AM ^

I personally would like to see Shane take a redshirt year when he gets on campus to raise his skill set to the college level, and also to put an extra year between him and Gardner.

Then again, if Gardner doesn't step up, and I mean really step up, then the coaches may not have a choice but to burn Shane's redshirt if only to light a fire under Gardner and make him compete. My mind keeps going back to some of the more poor decisions Gardner has made in his (admittedly) limited playing time last season.

I don't think Bellomy will ever be a serious contender for the starting job. Nothing against him, he seems like a stand up kid, but there's too much of a talent disparity there.

Blue in Yarmouth

February 6th, 2012 at 10:16 AM ^

Are you basing this on anything other than the fact that he was rated a 3* coming out of high school? I mean, where have you seen him play to get this impression of his talents? I ask because everything I have heard from the coaches in their interviews have been very positive where Bellomy is concerned. 


February 6th, 2012 at 1:49 PM ^

I think that's a fair comparison. Probably not quite as fast as Tate, but also has a stronger arm. But not an elite arm. People forget that Bellomy is going to have 2 years in the system when Shane gets here. And when the starting spot is open after Devin leaves, he'll have 4 years to Shane's two (or 3&1 if Devin doesn't get his RS). That can be tough to overcome no matter how talented you are.


February 6th, 2012 at 9:51 AM ^

think there is any question that Gardner is being groomed to be the starter.  BTW, how long does it take to determine if he is going to get that redshirt.  This has been the million dollar question for like a year and a half.  Who is deciding on that, and what is their time table for god sake.


February 6th, 2012 at 10:40 AM ^

Gardner is technically eligible for a medical redshirt because he didn't play in more than four of the first six games of the 2010 season...but, the NCAA will not decide until Gardner completes his fourth year of eligibility.  It is likely but not promised.  He won't know until at least the end of 2012 season.


February 6th, 2012 at 12:56 PM ^

Why would it have to be so dramatic? Why would Gardner have to totally suck for Shane to start? Why would Shame have to be phenomenal for Devin to lose the job? Couldn't they both be really good, but one gets the start over the other for other reasons... Like academics, better fit for the offense overall, or the health of one or the other? It doesnt have to be so profound one way or the other does it?


February 6th, 2012 at 1:51 PM ^

Because no coach ever goes into a season saying "Boy I really would like to start a true freshemen at QB. Especially for road games at MSU, Iowa, etc"(don't remember who else rotates on our schedule then). So for Morris to start over a guy who has had 4 years experience advantage and 3 in the same system and was ranked about the same in the recruiting rankings would indicate some dramatic shift. 


February 6th, 2012 at 9:52 AM ^

When mallet hit the campus there wasnt a legitamate proven and experienced backup. And thnks to henne's injury, mallet saw a quite amount of playing time.
But i think since we have devin whos got experience both on the field and during practice and a fairly underated backup russell, sugar shane should be redshirted and become a great one like andrew luck and sam bradford.


February 6th, 2012 at 9:54 AM ^

I'm not alone in thinking that Gardner looked like a very gifted player who was overwhelmed by his situation at times when he came in last year, am I?


February 6th, 2012 at 11:44 AM ^

You're basing that on an unfairly small sample. Basically no QBs thrive when they're just randomly plunked in for a handful of plays here and there -- especially QBs who haven't otherwise seen the field. They need reps. They need confidence and rhythm. Gardner will be fine. And, by the way, he did show flashes of talent when he got the chance. Remember Denard when he saw spot duty during his freshman year? He ran well. But he was frequently confused and INT-prone. And he got much more time than Gardner has.




February 6th, 2012 at 9:56 AM ^

I'd rather see Shane redshirt so that he has 4 years to be awesome instead of 1 year to learn how to be awesome and then only 3 years of pure awesomeness.

Plus DG has a nice arm and needs to get the opportunity to have some consistency instead of being thrown in sporadically when Denard goes down.


February 6th, 2012 at 10:02 AM ^

In 2013 I would put a good amount of money on Shane redshirting.  Even if Garder doesn't meet the hype, I would think Bellomy would start before him at that point... coaches have been singing his praises.


February 6th, 2012 at 10:03 AM ^

We should probably see them play a complete game before we give all three the heisman.  DG looked decent, not great, when he was in for DR.  Bellomy has yet to take a snap.  And Morris has to worry about Brother Rice before he wins the Heisman as a true freshman at UM.   Finally, I wouldn't be surprised if Bellomy ends up being a better QB than DG. 

turd ferguson

February 6th, 2012 at 10:20 AM ^

Our schedule is such that it's much softer in odd years right now than even years (OSU, ND, and Nebraska at home in the odd years).  Throwing a true freshman QB to the wolves when we have an experienced, mature, talented Devin Gardner would be a waste of what should be a very good season.


February 6th, 2012 at 10:25 AM ^

And I don't need anyone to say LMGTFY. But I have seen stats in the past that indicate you are almost always at a huge disadvantage with a Freshman quarterback. The sheer number of plays to memorize, the speed of the game, the ability to make reads correctly, etc., etc., etc., make it extremely difficult for a Freshman quarterback to succeed.

There are a number of mitigating factors that allow a Freshman QB to start.

  • Clear talent difference between upper classman and freshman, to the advantage of the freshman. Braxton at Ohio replacing Bauserman last year is an example of this. When all you have on the roster are journeymen QB's, well, there is room for a freshman to start.
  • Injured starter leaving no choice. Gutierrez injury opening door for Henne.
  • Freshman starting school early and participating in Spring Ball. The coaches put so much emphasis on Spring, that it would be very difficult without this.
  • The skill and ability of the team surrounding you. Having a solid experienced offensive line, and a couple of very good receivers and a good running back, make it a lot easier for a freshman QB to start.
  • The type of offense being run. The more complicated the offense, the more plays in the book, the more quick decision making required, the harder it is for a freshman QB to begin. If you are running a simple offense largely predicated on a running game, well, it is a bit easier for a QB. Somehow, I think that Borges is not going to go primarily to a run first offense.
  • The coach's mentality. Specifically, some coaches (i.e., Carr) are much more loyal to upper classmen, and reward them for their years of service. Personally, I don't think this is a bad thing. If every incoming QB knows that a particular team changes QB's every four years, and that you don't "really" have a fair chance to compete if you're not on that cycle, well, that would seriously damage your recruiting.
  • The time of the season. A freshman may not begin in September (when the experience differential is greater, and the familiarity with the playbook.) However, after two to three months of practice, it may become clear that the upper classman isn't getting it done, and that the freshman is tearing it up in practice. The freshman may even have proven himself on the field as a backup in that time. If that is the case, I could see a freshman QB supplanting the upperclassman somewhere around the 7th or 8th game of the season.

Looking at the above factors, I don't see Morris clearly being better than Gardner. I sure hope that Gardner doesn't get injured, opening the way for Morris. I don't know when Morris is projected to enroll in classes. I can't yet predict the quality of the team surrounding the QB in 2013. I am confident that Borges is going to run a complicated offense, making it close to impossible for most Freshmen QB's to succeed in his system. I believe that Hoke is more old school than some others out there, and that for the sake of camaraderie, esprit de corps, he would prefer to start an experienced upper classman. What I'm saying here is that if Gardner and Morris are essentially equal, you have to reward Gardner.

For all these reasons, I really would prefer Morris to redshirt, and for Gardner to start, in 2013.


February 6th, 2012 at 10:32 AM ^

I think that it is somewhat true that the best eleven are going to start. However, I think that if there is a "tie," or if it is close, the coaches will reward the upperclassman. We saw this during the year with Woolfolk. There were times I'm not sure he was the "best," but he was rewarded for his hard work, even though he was a step slow. Obviously, at some positions, you shuttle guys in and out to give the starters a breather and keep them fresh throughout the game (think:  defensive line and LB corps. Also, sometimes RB.) This is less true at QB, but I think coaches find wiggle room with "the best eleven." They have their favorites too, and can sometimes see things in a way that there isn't full agreement. I guess that's why their coaches and I'm not.


February 6th, 2012 at 10:33 AM ^

I would think for any team that expects to compete for conference and national championships-- which I think we would hope to be doing in 2013-- starting a true FR at QB does not seem to be a recipe for success.   That's not a knock against Shane, who will hopefully be a great one, but I'm hoping that DG is poised for a breakout season and that Bellomy is ready to be the backup and compete with Shane after DG leaves.


sports fan

February 6th, 2012 at 10:43 AM ^

I remember the anguish a year or two ago when everyone was castigating RichRod for playing Gardner as a freshman and possibly ruining a redshirt year.  "We have to save that redshirt so we have Gardner for an extra year."  Now some are wanting to push him out of the way to make room for another frosh.  You know what, there will be another hotshot quarterback we recruit in another year or two whom everyone thinks should start as a frosh.  Funny how what goes around comes around.  I  am content to  let the coaches recruit and play the players they think give UM the best chances to win.  Go Blue.

Space Coyote

February 6th, 2012 at 10:47 AM ^

Think of all the possibilities with having DG and Sugar Shane in there lined up next to each other!!!1!  Maybe get Russell Bellomy and his cousin by a different spelling Ronald Bellamy in there too!

Also: Gonzales and Bass.

\aw hell, here we go again...


February 6th, 2012 at 10:53 AM ^

If we start Shane in 2013, we probably are pretty good at QB from 2013-2015, and after that, who knows. If we star Gardner and redhsirt Shane, we probably are pretty good at QB from 2013-16 AT LEAST (13&14 with Gardner, 15 and 16 with Morris, and this is still assuming Morris would leave after his Junior year). Why would we needlessly run down the eligability of one of the best players on our roster when his "replacement" (if we're calling Gardner, the #1 ranked dual-threat QB in the country a replacement) is worst case scenario going to be 95% as effective?