If you talk with long time North Texas fans, they usually will agree that Scott Hall was a great UNT quarterback. His statistics are not jaw-dropping but his contributions are well known and oft-cited. Derek Thompson stirs some controversy. He played in an era of ridiculous QB numbers, but his numbers are pedestrian compared to CUSA or Sun Belt peers. Still he managed to finish his career as a top-8 career passer at North Texas. He will mostly be praised for his 2013 season in which he put up his best numbers and started on the HOD Bowl winning team.
Barring a miracle season, Alec Morris will not likely compete for a CUSA championship, nor a bowl game. 1 If he wants to pen his name in the hearts and minds of North Texas fandom he can probably do so by putting up gaudy passing numbers.
Luckily the offense Seth Littrell and Graham Harrell are implementing is very conducive to such a thing. While challenging school career numbers in one season is not usually a possibility, the 100th greatest passing season in NCAA history (Ryan Leaf’s 3968 in 1997) would place just under 7th on the North Texas career list.
NT Career Passing List via the NT Fact Book
|1. Mitch Maher||1991-94||8,519|
|2. Derek Thompson||2009-13||7,447|
|3. Steve Ramsey||1967-69||7,076|
|4. Scott Davis||1987-90||6,923|
|5. Scott Hall||2000-04||5,975|
|6. Giovanni Vizza||2007-08||5,146|
|7. Jason Mills||1994-97||3,981|
|8. Vidal Carlin||1965-66||3,233|
|9. Riley Dodge||2008-10||3,187|
|10. Ken Washington||1974-77||3,040|
If Morris puts up a pedestrian Air Raid type season he easily break some of the passing records here. Since we are just trying to get an idea, and not performing a study, I’m going to list some random first or early Air Raid schools passing numbers.
|Chase Clement||2007||300||508||59.1||3377||29||16||First year as full time starter in system|
|Jared Goff||2013||320||530||60.4||3508||18||10||Soph year|
|Trevone Boykin||2014||301||492||61.2||3901||33||10||Jr Year was first in system|
|Rakeem Cato||2011||182||304||59.9||2059||15||11||FR year|
|Rakeem Cato||2012||406||584||69.5||4201||37||11||Ridiculous improvement|
These are some good quarterbacks off the top of my head who had first years, or transition years as starters in a new system. Chase Clement’s situation is especially crazy, as Rice was a primarily running team during his career. Trevone Boykin’s TCU switched to Doug Meacham’s Air Raid in the middle of his career. Rakeem Cato’s situation was less dramatic, as they had a passing friendly system before. Note the transition from freshman to sophomore. Sure, he was a great talent but so is Morris, according to the coaches.
Rick Gosselin’s article suggests that Littrell and Harrell expect big numbers from Alec Morris. They think he can put up a Jeff Driskel-like season — 4K passing, 27 TDs in 2015.
Given what we’ve seen, his talent, and the coaching staff, I can see him getting something like
300 / 490, 3500 yards, 28 Tds, 9 Ints.
That would be a nice, solid Air Raid season for a SR QB. Nothing eye-popping but good-to-great numbers.
For perspective, on the single-season NT list that would put him 2nd all time in passing attempts (493 Vizza, 2008), second in completions (309 Vizza, 2008), 1st in TDs (26 Maher, 1994), and first in passing yards (3,103 Maher, 1994).
On a 3500 yard pace he would pass Thompson’s 2,896 season (in 13 games) sometime in the fourth quarter of the WKU game in November. That would be with two games remaining.
NT Single-Season Passing List via the NT Fact Book
|1. Mitch Maher||1994||3,103|
|2. Derek Thompson||2013||2,896|
|3. Steve Ramsey||1969||2,828|
|4. Giovanni Vizza||2008||2,758|
|5. Derek Thompson||2012||2,649|
|6. Mitch Maher||1993||2,595|
|7. Steve Ramsey||1968||2,516|
|8. Scott Davis||1988||2,409|
|9. Giovanni Vizza||2007||2,388|
|10. Mitch Maher||1992||2,090|
If NT doesn’t shock the world and pull out a bowl season in 2016, watching Morris tear up the record book should be fun as a consolation.