It is way to early to know with any certainty who will be the starting quarterback for next year. This year is a good example of the fact that the starter on opening day isn’t necessarily the guy who will take the most snaps. Josh Greer started the first three games and was never heard from again. Dajon Williams showed flashes of brilliance but succumbed to turnovers and got in Danny Mac’s doghouse. Andrew McNulty was a bus driver, only twice throwing for over 200 yards in his six starts. He played his best in the final game of the regular season and that will go a long way to securing his spot as the front-runner next season.
Here are the candidates with the cases for and against in order from most to least likely.
1. Andrew McNulty
Case For: He drives the bus, knows the playbook, and is the most experienced. That apparently goes a long way with the head coach and that is what matters. The run game should be typically good1 so he won’t need to throw 43 passes as he did against UTSA. With an entire offseason of grooming, he should be a HC’s dream: a senior QB who won’t turn the ball over.
Case Against: He barely got up to six touchdowns after six games. Dajon Williams, for all his faults, threw seven in three games. McNulty has the least powerful arm, often floating passes to his receivers. He isn’t completely immune to turning the ball over (seven INTs), but he started despite those. That means that he is doing enough hard work in practice to earn the benefit of the doubt. That’s something the others didn’t earn.
2. Connor Means
Case For: He is the backup quarterback. He is the RS Freshman with talent. You might remember that Dajon was the beneficiary of the backup hype at the start of this year. No other quarterback has as much raw talent. After a year in the program he should know enough to lead the vanilla offense. He has the talent to make the plays that all starting QBs need to make occasionally.
Case Against: He is untested against FBS competition. Josh Greer looked the part in practice on his way to earning the job to begin against Texas. He wilted in the spotlight. There is no telling what kind of player he’ll be until he steps on the field.
3. Josh Greer
Case For: He has another year to shake off the bad start. He won the job over Andrew McNulty and Dajon Williams before, and there is no reason to think he couldn’t again. He has the talent and poise that earned him the attention of Mike Canales and the coaching staff. He only threw 50 passes on the season against some of the best competition we faced. Andrew McNulty looked just as awful as Greer did in the game in Austin. It is only fair to give Greer a second look at the job.
Case Against: He looked completely lost against Texas, SMU and Louisiana Tech. Were it not for the one touchdown drive he led, he wouldn’t really have any solid statistics to stand on. He only managed 82 yards against SMU’s porous defense. He had the worst completion percentage and yards-per-attempt of any of the quarterbacks. That is to say he was inefficient and not explosive as a starter.
4. Unnamed 2015 JUCO Recruit
Case For: Cody Sokol stepped in to LaTech’s QB position and led them to a bowl game. With the worst passing season in six years under our belt, anyone who has promise throwing the football should be given the chance to make some noise here.
Case Against: This is basically what we thought Josh Greer would do. Greer was a solid performer in the JUCO ranks and bombed as a starter. High Risk and needs to earn the trust of teammates over guys who have been through things with the team before.
5. Dajon Williams
Case For: He has the talent. He can fling the ball with ease, he is dynamic in the pocket, and he has speed to make plays outside of it. Enough players on the team want him to start to make the case that the has earned their trust. That’s big. In his short, turnover-filled time he threw for seven touchdowns. That’s good for the best on the team in the least number of starts. He also had the most turnovers – both fumbles and interceptions. Still, he had the best QB rating (145.57), the best yard-per-attempt (7.9) and the best completion percentage (59.7) of all the quarterbacks.
Case Against: A bulk of his stats came against the absolute worst team we’ve faced in years. That’d be Nicholls. It’s hard to imagine that McNulty or Greer would have put up bad numbers against that team but Greer did struggle against SMU, so who knows? After his awful first half against UAB he was benched for the year. A large part of his struggles stem from his poor offseason that drew the ire of the coaching staff. He ended the year with yet another game suspension for “nonsense”. Given his struggles to stay out of the doghouse it is doubtful he’ll remain with the team for the next year. It would take an offseason of dedication to win over Danny Mac. If that is the case, the has the most talent outside of Connor Means.