Alec Morris is the best option at QB – right now – because he has showed he is a better quarterback than the rest of the roster 1. That reason is the most important. Any other possibilities, up to and including relationships with parents, former coaches, impressing the DFW high school coaching cabal, or anything else, is ridiculous and doesn’t contribute to the business of winning football games.
Brett Vito offered an classical apology of Alec Morris as starting quarterback that included more other reasons than one that truly matters. Partly as an exercise in procrastination, I will go through each of them, discuss them as if they were well-thought out and not a quickly written missive in response to reader emails.
Really, my biggest complaint is that these aren’t good reasons. While he prefaced the piece by saying he wasn’t a football coach, you do not have to be one to come up with better defenses of Alec Morris.
Let us begin that staple of blogging, the point-by-point critique:
1st Point – Honest-to-goodness legit college prospect in Morris
Morris was recruited and signed by A-L-A-B-A-M-A and Nick Saban. Maybe you’ve heard about Saban and the Tide. Seems like they know what they are doing.
If this is meant to say that he has talent then sure, this is an okay argument for ‘best option’. But to reinforce it with “A-L-A-B-A-M-A” was weak 2.
2nd Point – He likes Shanbour
This isn’t a reason. He said these were reasons. This is just praise for QS. From the end of the post:
UNT’s coaches are smart guys. Morris is their best option. It’s pretty obvious for a number of reasons, nine to be exact.
This isn’t a reason. So to be more exact it would be eight ‘reasons’. So far.
Third Point – Don’t read into the Spring Game.
It’s going to look at whole lot different in the fall when the bullets start flying. Morris is 6-4 and a whole lot better built to handle that change, especially behind a shaky offensive line, than Shanbour, who is 6-feet tall, and under 200 pounds.
Thrust of this point is that Morris is bigger and sturdier and therefore a better quarterback. While generally bigger = better in football, this is not as great of a point as it would have been if it were written in 1997, when drop back passes over giant lineman were the norm. Shorter, slighter quarterbacks aren’t so obviously the worst options anymore.
Fourth Point – 5th Year Senior Transfers Have Worked Before!
The best path to success in college athletics sometimes is to see what has worked other places and follow the same path. Louisiana Tech has won bowl games the last two years behind fifth-year senior transfers Cody Sokol and Jeff Driskel.
Hiring coaches have worked before. Firing coaches have worked before. Lots of things have worked before.
While I see the point he is attempting to make here — that Morris is more like Sokol and Driskel than some other random transfer — it is not a particularly well made one here. Also, the primary skill of the LaTech coaching staff was in identifying talent that would work at their school, in their system. It is a skill that should work independent of the origin of the player.
That is to say that their staff was better than our staff at picking out guys that would work here. The list of quarterbacks that were recruited here from high school, as transfers, and JUCO transfers were all examples of our previous staff’s inability to do that. Its talent identification, guys. Nothing more. Pointing out the 5th Year Senior aspect of it is missing the point.
Fifth Point – More likely Story? TWO SCENARIOS!
Point: It’s more likely that a guy that has been recruited by two staffs is better than the guy who walked on. Let me offer another unhelpful scenario: Could the career backup be usurped by the guy with a chip on his shoulder, willing to outwork and outperform?!?
He attempts to strengthen his point by saying LT had success with grad transfers but having already shown the weakness of that particular argument, let me illustrate that the ‘walk on sitting on its bench who was passed over time and time again’ was perhaps simply ignored by a staff who had demonstrated inability to evaluate quarterback talent.
Again, I am not saying this is the case. Presenting scenarios like this is ridiculous in the first place, guys.
Sixth Point – They said this would happen
Point: Littrell said he was going to be the starter. Louisiana Tech also had QB competition before naming the starter.
Seventh Point – Morris has only been here a short time
Point: Morris was rusty in the spring game and that’s why he tossed INTs.
You know my thinking on Spring Games, so this is fine. “He only played bad because he was rusty” isn’t really a reason to start a guy, though.
Eighth Point – Bandwagon appeal
Point: Don’t believe me? Ask the people who have watched! Also throws in a dig at message boarders. K.
At best this is a point to support the argument that Alec Morris is a demonstrated better quarterback based on his practice ability. As I stated in the intro, this is the only argument that holds any water. Right now, we don’t know what either will look like in an honest-to-goodness FBS game.
Ninth Point – UNT needs to play nice
Point: Morris is from Allen and if we do not play him then the program will never get a recruit ever.
Morris is the highest profile transfer UNT has landed in a long, long time because he is a quarterback. And he’s from Allen, one of the biggest talent factories in the state.
The DFW football community is going to be watching.
If UNT is going to start anyone other than Morris to begin the season, it had better be damn sure it’s going to be able to sell the fact it made the right decision to the next batch of transfers looking to come home.
UNT might struggle to win four games this season.
You can bet your rear end that if UNT rolls out there and goes 3-9 with Morris sitting on the bench, it’s going to be used against the Mean Green’s coaches in recruiting. It might also give future transfers, DFW quarterbacks and recruits in general a moment of pause.
If our grand plan to recruit the DFW area is to start guys from the area over possibly a better option than we might as well do an Idaho and shut this thing down. The smartest coaches know that making choices about who starts and who sits is the most agonizing and oft-scrutinized decisions a coach makes and one that isn’t made lightly. They likely have had to sit a kid everyone thought should start because it would be better for the team. Assuming Seth Littrell is out here making the connections with these guys, I’m sure most will understand.
I trust our new staff’s ability to evaluate quarterback talent more than I did Danny Mac + Chico. Right now AM’s resume (in HS and in BAMA practices) + demonstrated ability (in our practice) > QS resume + demonstrated ability (in our practice). This equation will be weighted more heavily on present demonstrated ability as we move closer to The Real Thing. Then it will not matter what Alec Morris did in high school on that film that Littrell raved about. It will not matter that Quinn Shanbour was not recruited by the Tide.