Let me preface this article by writing that I am not even sure there is any form of a “quarterback controversy” in Dave Clawson’s mind at this point in time for Wake Forest.
As a blog we try to keep our pulse on the fanbase, and we like to write articles on hot topic issues that fans discuss.
Yesterday Cam wrote an article about why he felt it was time for a quarterback change based on what he has seen so far this season. Since we have ten writers here at Blogger So Dear, we are far from a monolithic group when it comes to our opinions on Wake Forest athletics.
I am of the mindset that true freshman quarterback Sam Hartman should certainly remain the starter. Not only do I believe this just for developing him for the future, but also because I believe he gives us the best chance to win this season, and right now.
This article was going to be written today regardless of what happened yesterday, and what Hartman did against a porous Rice defense in the first half does not really play into my opinion at all.
Hartman, on the season, has thrown for 10 touchdowns and 5 interceptions through four games for 1,185 yards and a 58% completion percentage. The Rice game yesterday certainly inflated his stats, but it’s on the schedule and I’m going to of course use the stats he accumulated in it.
In the small five game sample size so far this season, it is fair to say that Hartman has looked really good against inferior defenses, and really bad against better defenses, but that is what you would expect for pretty much anybody, much less a true freshman.
Here are the S&P ranks defensively for the teams Wake has played so far:
Tulane - 87th
Towson - FCS
Boston College - 47th
Notre Dame - 6th
Rice - 128th
Hartman without a doubt struggled against Notre Dame and Boston College, but did well against the other three. He needs to continue to improve and at least be serviceable against average defenses because that is the floor of what he is going to face moving forward this season.
This is an offensive scheme that is predicated on timing, split second decision making, and limiting mistakes. The only way to master that is through thousands of reps in practice and games, and we saw what John Wolford did last year in his senior season with four years in this system. We were all spoiled by that obviously, and whether or not we say out loud that we aren’t holding Hartman to that standard, we clearly are on some level.
The two backups are Kendall Hinton and Jamie Newman, both of whom have battled either suspensions, injuries, or both throughout their collegiate career. Both of these quarterbacks have a unique skill set that, I believe, can be utilized from time to time for the Deacs, but not consistently as a starting quarterback.
Hinton has explosive acceleration, speed, and throws a beautiful deep ball. He also has struggled with short to intermediate passes in the past, and I haven’t seen enough of him this year to see if his timing has improved on the throws across the middle that the coaching staff requires of the QB.
He should be used in several possessions per game backing up Greg Dortch at the slot, or coming in for Sam Hartman in the “Wildcat” formation to keep the defense honest and defend 11 on 11.
I do not believe that he gives us the same overall production at QB that Hartman gives us, and therefore I don’t think he should be the starting quarterback.
In what we have seen of Jamie Newman it is obvious that he is a physical, bruising runner who can keep it between the tackles and pick up good yardage on the ground. What I have seen in his passing game has not impressed me, but it is hard to come in with the second team and be expected to have your timing down pat to begin with.
I believe there is a pretty big separation between the passing game of Hartman and Newman, and that gives Hartman a sizable advantage there.
Overall I think that based on the offensive philosophy that our coaching staff adheres to, that Hartman is the only one of the three who can throw and run the ball to maximize the potential of the offense.
Yes he is going to miss throws, turn it over, and make the wrong decisions. That is fully expected of a freshman quarterback learning an offense based on insanely quick reads of the defense. I would expect these to decrease with time as he becomes more comfortable with his reads and skilled players around him.
What he has shown me so far through five games indicates to me that he is the guy suited for the job for right now, as well as the future, and will only continue to get better as he matures.
This is a conversation that a lot of Wake fans tend to go back-and-forth on so I would love to read the comments from you guys to see what you think about the QB position.