I want to begin this by saying I think Sam Hartman has done a good job as the starting QB for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. He got the team out to a 2-0 start, and while the competition wasn’t exactly Bama and Clemson, losing either of those games would have been a death sentence to the season.
However things haven’t been as peachy since then.
The last two weeks have been very sobering to the Demon Deacon fanbase and the team itself. While the defense carries some of the burden, as we can see by the firing of defensive Jay Sawvel, the offense is not to go without blame.
Have there been a couple of injuries? Absolutely. Losing Justin Herron for the year was honestly a bigger blow than realized even with our “6 starter” mentality, as it does create shifts in the line, and he was far and away the best pass blocking lineman on the team. Scotty Washington being hurt hasn’t helped, but Sage Surratt has stepped up and filled in very nicely.
The team has put up 23+ points in every single one of its game, and yet it just hasn’t been enough. Sam Hartman has put up 944 yards and 6 touchdowns. That’s really good from a true freshman QB! However when you dive into the stats a bit more things get a bit murkier.
He has a 54% completion percentage (which isn’t the end all be all but if they’re completing closer to 50% of your passes than 60%, generally it’s not going great.) The only QB that is around that number that I would argue is performing well this year would be Trace McSorley. However, with McSorley we see a much higher QBR and less picks. That’s not what you want to see with one of the most talented groups of Wide Receivers we’ve seen for Wake Forest I’d be willing to bet ever.
Hartman is tied for 4th in the NCAA in interceptions at 5. So he has a bit over a 1:1 ratio in terms of Touchdowns to Interceptions. While a couple have not been his fault, there have been some bad ones. The first two balls he threw Bachman’s way in that game had a better chance of getting caught by a fan than anyone on the field. If you want to be good in this league you have to put the ball accurately. Which he’s capable of, but to me, since the Tulane game, he just hasn’t done that.
Lastly, the offense and the way it’s run hasn’t been the kindest to him. Sam Hartman has not been close to perfect and it shows. At times he’ll make a read and try to squirt through the middle on the line only to be met face first by a linebacker. This 19 year old has taken a beating and seems to not want to slide when necessary or seems to want to just take any chance to take off whenever. That’s not what the team needs right now.
Staying on schedule is important for this team as for the most part, they have. They’ve notably struggled in short yardage situations.
Why not put in someone who can help fix these short yardage problems and be able to absorb contact better? According to the coaching staff the QB competition was neck and neck throughout the summer.
I wish I was talking about Kendall Hinton, but no it’s good ol Jamie Newman.
Jamie comes in listed at a whopping 6-4 230. That’s a big dude. It has been noted by Conor O’Neill in his article when he just spews off random thoughts while rewatching games (which I recommend reading) and just being better at the keepers up the middle and being able to absorb contact and get more yardage.
In terms of passing, minus the interception that looked to be slightly underthrown, Jamie seemed to be fine in terms of throwing the ball and this offense doesn’t call for forcing Bachman to catch one handed(which is great by the way)
A spark needs to happen to this entire team and I think the best way to do that would be a change that would seemingly be for the better.