Thursday, December 1, 2011
Regular-season report card: Quarterbacks
By Kevin Gemmell
The regular season is over, which means grades are due. Here's part one of the ongoing regular season report card for Stanford.
Andrew Luck had 35 touchdown passes and nine interceptions, while leading Stanford to an 11-1 season.
Summary: When you have the best quarterback in the nation, there is no other grade worth giving. Without Andrew Luck, Stanford is a decent team. With him, they are a BCS bowl game team -- a top five team. What can be said about Luck that hasn't been said already? If you've been listening to David Shaw over the past 48 hours, you've heard pretty much everything there is to hear. He was perfect in the red zone -- 26 touchdowns, zero interceptions.
He's set the major school touchdown records and is a fine student to boot. He leaves with 80 career passing touchdowns (and still counting) following a 35-touchdown, nine-interception season -- and you can lay four of those interceptions on his wide receivers' trampoline hands. He had an off game against Oregon -- but that in no way should define his body of work this season or the legacy he'll leave at Stanford.
Backups: Stanford's quarterback competition will be one of the most closely watched in the nation following Luck's exodus to The League. It stands to reason that Brett Nottingham has the inside edge since he won the back-up job. But nothing is guaranteed. Nottingham appeared in half of the games this year, completing 5 of 8 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Speaking with one member of the coaching staff, he said Nottingham already has a strong presence in the huddle and players respond well to him. Going out and executing is the name of the game, but having the guys in the huddle believe you can do it is a good start.
The only other player to throw a ball this year was receiver Drew Terrell. Since Luck won't be around next year to make Terrell look good with a one-handed catch, I wouldn't bank on him getting the starting gig.