Discussion

These players feeling the heat this season

From the marquee QBs to every other position, there are certain players who just have to produce this year.

Updated: August 28, 2005, 9:04 AM ET
By Todd McShay | Scouts, Inc.
The quarterback position reigns supreme in college football. But with all the glory also comes steep expectation. The following is a look at 10 quarterbacks across the country that will be most scrutinized for their play in 2005. The ones that rise to the challenge should put their respective teams in position to contend for conference titles, significant bowl bids and possibly even a trip to the Rose Bowl to play for the national championship. Unfortunately, the ones that melt under the heat will shoulder much of the blame for unmet expectations.

Reggie Ball, Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech had other problems on the gridiron in 2004 but Ball's inconsistency was its biggest. As a sophomore last season, Ball completed only 49.7 percent of his passing attempts and threw more interceptions (18) than touchdowns (16). Those numbers are unacceptable in any circumstance but when you factor in that Ball had a dynamic receiver like Calvin Johnson to throw to, they become even more mind-boggling.

There is no questioning Ball's athleticism and ability to create with his feet. He did rush for 332 yards and two touchdowns, while also generating more than his share of second-chance passing opportunities. However, for every positive he creates Ball seemingly follows with two negatives that stifle offensive drives. Jon Tenuta has coordinated one of the nation's most underrated defenses the past three seasons and returns nine starters from last year's group. With Johnson back catching passes and RB P.J. Daniels at full strength after an injury-plagued junior season, there's no question that the Yellow Jackets have the overall talent to emerge as a darkhorse in the loaded ACC Coastal. But for that to happen, Ball's overall efficiency must improve. He needs to set his feet and follow through on his release more consistently. He also needs to know when to take a sack or throw the ball out of bounds rather than throwing it up for grabs. If not, Ball could eventually find himself on the sideline watching freshman Taylor Bennett perform the duty.

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