9.09.2006

Quarterback report: Brink reasserts himself, while Stanback falters


Speaking of that Cougar offense, I didn't see anything Saturday to persuade me that Gary Rogers should take the starting quarterback job away from Alex Brink.

Cougars fans were all up in arms last week when a dismal performance by Brink was coupled with what appeared to be a brilliant performance by Rogers in just one series. While I haven't always been the biggest fan of Brink -- I thought he got the job from Josh Swogger under false pretenses in the first place -- he showed me a lot last season, and that shouldn't be so quickly forgotten by the WSU faithful.

Let's remember that this is the first WSU quarterback in a long time to win two consecutive Apple Cups, and that the team scored 33.5 points per game under his leadership. He completed more than 57 percent of his passes, threw 24 touchdowns against only 13 interceptions, and was second in the Pac-10 in total offense (behind only former Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart).

Say what you want about his seeming inability to complete a pass in a lot of crucial situations last season, and how you think that led to the Cougars' disappointing record. And, say what you want about him riding the coattails of Jerome Harrison. I'll say that 33.5 points ought to be enough to win most of your games, and that you ought to be a lot quicker to hang those losses on the defensive secondary, which was completely inept most of the season. Such is the life of a quarterback.

I'll be the first to agree that the situation against Auburn might have warranted sticking with the hot hand in a game that seemed to still be at least somewhat in reach; Brink clearly was rattled and off his game, and Rogers seemed poised as he showed off that rocket arm that Coug fans are so fascinated by.

But lets keep the big picture in mind: Brink has proven himself to be a pretty good quarterback, while Rogers hasn't proven much.

Oh, by the way -- Brink was 12 of 15 for 231 yards and three TDs against Idaho; Rogers was 6 of 9 for 62 yards and TD. And it could be a heck of a lot worse for Coug fans -- their quarterback could be Isaiah Stanback ...

Which leads me to my next thought.

Complete and total lack of alternative talent on the roster aside -- unless you count the freshman messiah -- I often wonder why UW coaches keep thinking (hoping?) Stanback can be a Pac-10 quarterback.

Then, I understand.

No matter how many fastballs he fires at receivers' feet or seven yards over their heads, a few times a game he makes a play that just leaves you shaking your head.

Such was the case late in the third quarter against Oklahoma. Down by 10 and facing 3rd-and-10 from deep in his own territory, Stanback spun out of a sure sack, put his left hand on the ground to steady himself, and continued scrambling to his left. With an oncoming defender in his face, he flicked the ball side-arm around the defender and hit a receiver standing at the first down marker for the conversion. He also nearly kept that same drive going with a tremendous 3rd-down scramble away from a blitzing cornerback, barely stepping out of bounds two yards before the marker.

Of course, that last play would never have happened if he hadn't missed a wide-open receiver 20 yards downfield on the previous play. Then, as if to confirm my observations as I wrote, he came up with the capper -- the play that has to make Tyrone Willingham wonder if the things he does well really outweigh all the mistakes he makes.

With a point-blank opportunity to get back into the game on 1st-and-goal from the 6-yard line after the defense forced a turnover in the end zone, he coughs up the football on an option to give it right back to the Sooners. Instead of possibly closing to within three points at 20-17, Oklahoma would turn that turnover into an Adrian Peterson touchdown to make the margin 30-13 and effectively end the game heading into the fourth quarter.

The Washington athletic department might want to invest in padded rooms for its offensive coaches before the year is out.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay Nuss, first of all - it's good to have you back, second off - It ain't about Rogers.

You may be right about seeing nothing in Gary Rogers against Idaho that would leave you to believe that he should take the job away from Alex Brink, but in my opinion the burdon of proof is on Brink. And he is failing. The term "it's your job to lose" should mean something in this case. The fact is this, last season under what you called "his leadership" the Cougars pissed away many a game that was in their grasp. I will not argue with you that 30+ points should be enough to win you ball games, and that the Cougar secondary was (and probably still is) suspect, to put it gently. I'm just as much a Coug as the next guy, and no matter how many Apple cups this guy has won, he has not pushed his team into a bowl game. Personally, I miss bowl games, and winning the Apple Cup, as glorious as that is, is not a substitute for a bowl.

Let us not forget that the last bowl game Cougars played in they were lead by a quarterback that for 4 years was the but of everyone's jokes, and he never proved that he deserved any more time than he got all those years. Boy, what I wouldn't give to see ol' Keg's back in a Cougar uni.

Let us not forget that Brinks big accomplishment of winning two consecutive Apple Cups came against two of the worst University of Washington football teams in the entirety of their existence, one of them actually was the worst team in Pac-10 history. Wow, that's big time. Nice job Alex. Oh yeah, and he totally destroyed those Husky teams too, right? Or was it a nice move by Trandon Harvey with less than 2 minutes in the game that gave the Cougs a narrow victory last season. I think you get my point.

In terms of Brinks productivity; numbers are not the always the answer. I get sick to my stomach every time some useless FSN announcer mentions the fact that Brink holds the single game passing yards record for Washington State University. Every time I hear that I remember what really happened that day. When you throw the football 59 times in a game you set some sort of yardage record. And let us not forget that he tossed up four picks (and fumbled once) in that game as well. His amazing offensive performance that day also yeilded a boisterous three point second half. The fact that he is placed along side the names of the greatest of Cougar quarterbacks, who's names are too sacred to mention even here, makes the sharp, tangy taste of bile rise to the back of my throat.

Another thing about Brinks numbers; how much of that is in the form of Yards After the Catch. Even his completion percentage is corrupted by the rediculous amount of wide reciever screens and running back dump passes that Cougar coaching staff calls to protect this kid.

After two games this is what I see; the kid looks exactly the same as he did last season (so does the defensive backfield for that matter). He still looks scared in the pocket, he still makes crappy reads and never hits his later options, he still frantically takes off too early, and his teammates still don't like him. With no improvement from last season, and with the same weapons on the recieving end (minus a sure handed tight end that he never used anyway, and an All-American running back that catches the ball well out of the backfield) we should expect to see the same head-spinning, high profile offense as last season. And with out Jerome Harrison to fall back on, this team will produce the same results.

I guess by your standard, Nuss, Loren Langley (who missed one field goal and had another liner blocked against Idaho) is another Coug that should keep his starting role, since Romeen Naguh-naguh-nagunnakickforusthisyear hasn't shown you anything to pursuade you that he should take the starting kicker job away from him.

But hey, Langley was the kicker in the Apple Cup victory last year, right?

(By the way, it was Graham Siderius who kicked the extra point at the end of the game, after Langley missed one in the 3rd qtr.)


Jo~Jo

Anonymous said...

Somebody was explaining the Oklahoma loss, and said,"The Huskies seemed to lack intensity."

This was my thought process...
1) Who is coaching them?
2) Ah, right. I get it.

X+O= W. HAHAHA! Nuss, can you post one of those commercials? PLEASE!!!

By the way, I agree with you Nuss...

Watching Stanback play, reminds me of playing football games on the PS2 against lesser opponents. He makes poor decision after poor decision; and then on 3rd down with the computer now on his side- makes some ridiculous play that you still don't know how it worked, but it did! In Stanback's case the "artificial intelligence" is exactly how it sounds, "artificial"!

Nice work Nuss. Pretty good stuff.

Mike

The Nuss said...

I agree with you, Joe ... to a point.

I just think the guy has played pretty well, given the fact that he was only a sophomore last year. I do agree aht this is the year he really needs to show something, and I agree that if after a few more games it looks like he peaked last year, then it might be worth exploring other options.

But for now, the guy had a terrible game against the team that I think will eventually play Ohio State in the national championship game, and had a pretty brilliant game against Idaho. So I don't think we know a whole lot yet about how much he's improved ... or not improved.

And as far as YAC, you can't take anything away from Brink because a receiver made a play. And sometimes, it's worth recognizing that a receiver was able to make a play because the quarterback got him the ball in space with the opportunity to make a play. (As was the case Saturday with Jason Hill, who was able to make that play because Brink recognized the corner blitz and quickly got the ball to Hill, who was singled up on a safety.)

Again, I'm not saying I have a man-crush on the guy ... I'm just saying I think the jury's still out.

erik said...

As for the Huskies, stanback is a selfish guy who wont go play WR, where he would help the team more (and also his NFL stock).

However, if they are going to play him at QB, I believe they need to start running more true option plays. It seems they try to take advantage of his running ability by running a qb delayed draw up the middle. Why not flush him out and give him more space. He cant throw. Locker is one year away, and the team will need to be able to do this for him when he steps in, why not practice now?

Keep posting, missed ya. Problem is I could have used it during the summer when I had a lot less to do!

The Nuss said...

He could have made himself into a first-round NFL talent if he would have become a wide receiver. That guy has freakish athletic ability, and he is as fast as anyone in college football. But there is nothing upstairs. And I mean nothing. People complain about Brink not being able to come off his first read, but this guy often can't even make the first one. And when he does, he can only execute the throw 50 percent of the time.

The Nuss said...

Oh, and by the way ... I do think the Coug kicking job should go to Ramin Mynameiswaytoolongforanyonetolearnthespelling, and that Langley -- who seems to possess all the physical tools -- needs to stay off the field. Missing a pair of very makeable kicks against Idaho is simply unacceptable.

It would be nice if they would make the switch before it costs us a game.

And Mikey -- I looked stinking everywhere for that video. Can't find it. I'll keep checking.