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07' Quarterbacks - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

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07' Quarterbacks - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

Offense – QB

And, last but not least, especially in this offense, the QUARTERBACK.

"Quarterback is really key to the total success of our team," The Voice.

Not much to add to that.


Starter lost: None.

Starter returning: Rusty Smith (108-of-194, 55.7%, 1,285 yards, 8 INT, 6 TD).

Backup lost: None

Backup returning: Sean Clayton (78-of-154, 50.6%, 926 yards, 6 INT, 5 TD

What a strange year it was. After last season there remained a three-way fight for who would replace Danny Embick. Clayton had the edge since he ended the season as the backup, though McKinson Souverain had gotten some playing time.

But Souverain saw that he was a square peg (small, fast, better in the option) in a round hole (pro-style offense, tall, pocket-passer preferred), and decided to transfer.

That reduced the battle to two ? Clayton and redshirt freshman Smith. Neither shined in spring or in fall, and Smith pulled the upset, showing a bit more accuracy and zip on passes in August. At the time The Voice talked about him having attributes similar to those of Bernie Kosar, the redshirt freshman who took Miami to its first national title.

But Smith looked more like the Bear?s Rex Grossman against Clemson, obviously overwhelmed by the crowd at Death Valley and the speed of the defense he was facing. On came Clayton, who completed a couple passes, and the torch was passed.

But fans will recall that Smith kept getting big chunks of playing time, huge really, considering he was backup, playing the entire second half of the next three games. It wasn?t until Louisiana-Monroe that The Voice finally let Clayton play the entire game, and the Burrowing Birds came away with their first win.

The Voice insisted that it was just the way the games had gone, with the BBs hopelessly out of them after the first half, that had him playing Smith so much. But how does the starter get better when he is yanked so quickly? It didn?t quite sound right. And The Voice was still talking Smith up and not really providing a lot of verbal support to Clayton.

Truth was Clayton was not improving much, and FAU?s offense was inconsistent. Then came The Concussion, which changed everything.

Clayton got squashed between two Middle Tennessee tacklers, was knocked out for a few seconds, and left the field. Turns out that slow walk off the field would be his last appearance as a starter. Smith came on and even though Clayton was able to play in the next game, Smith would stay the starter.

The old saying you can?t lose your starting spot due to an injury does not apply to The Voice and the QB position. The Voice tried to find a way to graciously say that The Concussion changed the course of the season without making it sound bad for Clayton, but gave up.

Here is what he had to say: ?If you go down my coaching history, times we had a veteran quarterback, we were really good. When we were dealing with young quarterbacks, we were mediocre at best. Problem at Louisville is we couldn?t keep a constant stream of quarterbacks. Gruden started slow but when he was a senior we were good, Browning Nagel to us to 9-1-1. Then we had QBs not good enough, didn?t have enough experience. At Miami didn?t play Kelley until the eighth game of the season, then had 8-3 season, then Bernie came on. Quarterback is really key to the total success of our team.

?I truly thought [Smith] would be ready in opening game, but it turned out he wasn?t. That was a bad decision on my part. The [concussion] is the most important thing that happened, forced us to put Rusty back in and he had much better performances.?

Obviously the one QB that didn?t fit the pattern was Kosar, but he was a special player on a team that had a lot of veterans. FAU was still very young this year.

OK, so where does that leave things?

Well, in the final Sun Belt coaches conference call, this is what The Voice said: ?We finally have a No. 1 quarterback, which will be invaluable to us.?

So, Javelin is the man. (I call Smith Javelin because of his throwing motion. For those who haven?t seen it, imagine taking the ball back with a straight arm instead of bending at the elbow, like a javelin thrower.)

I talked to QB coach Gary Nord about it, and he said while it may look odd, it is effective.

?We have tightened it up some, getting it more compact. The whip action he has, there are a lot of great quarterbacks have that, Rivers, Favre, Bernie Kosar, several others. He gets an unbelievable amount of velocity.?

Clayton will be a seasoned backup, and throw a couple redshirts into the mix, Eli Cranor and Jeff VanCamp, and the BBs are flush at QB.

Smith did make a lot of progress in those final games of the season, and his best per-formance came against FIU, where he audibled much of the game. The Voice has been doing this a lot longer than nearly any other coach, and when he says he has found his QB, I am not going to quibble.

Outlook: Good

Sun Sentinel/ Ted Hutton
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07' Quarterbacks - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

What about the transfer Grant and any other redshirts? I am personally not convinced that the team has found a true #1 QB. This isn't a knock on Rusty, it just means that the team has multiple QBs who have about the same ability and who could all potentially compete for the starting job in the fall. There is a lot of time left for guys to improve and possibly beat Rusty for the #1 spot. I think it is important to have a true #1 going into game one next year and I also think that a lot could change between now and then. Neither Smith nor Clayton had great numbers last year. That means that minimally there is lots of room for improvement. GO OWLS!!!

You can run kitties, but you can't hide!!!
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07' Quarterbacks - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

I know a lot of people around here are big on Jason Grant, but what's the big draw? Wasn't he a walk-on at Troy?

We have a bunch of scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, why would Grant pass them? I know he had to sit out this season, but his name has never come up with any of the coaching staff this year. Will he even be a factor?

President of the No Homers Club. Keepin' it real since 2001.
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07' Quarterbacks - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

The sprng will tell. Rusty and Sean have college game eperience. but they are not the best QBs. It will be fun to watch. I think there wll be diffrent things printed after the spring and summer.
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07' Quarterbacks - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton


CanadianOwl said

I know a lot of people around here are big on Jason Grant, but what's the big draw? Wasn't he a walk-on at Troy?

We have a bunch of scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, why would Grant pass them? I know he had to sit out this season, but his name has never come up with any of the coaching staff this year. Will he even be a factor?

I agree. I haven't heard anything about Grant except what has been posted on this board. If any of it is true, he could be an interesting addition. Until proven otherwise, I have to go with Clayton and Smith as the top guys. GO OWLS!!!

You can run kitties, but you can't hide!!!
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07' Quarterbacks - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

Coach has clearly pointed to the fact that we have found our number one guy under center and it does appear to be Rusty.

My thoughts are this as far as the QB position:
Rusty will be the starter going into next season and Clayton will become the forgotten. Here is why, Coach S like stability and veteran leadership under-center, period and Rusty will provide that. The only way a Cranor, VanCamp or Grant to become a factor and in the mix of things will be for one of those guy to truly out shine Rusty in the off-season and Rusty to fall flat on his face. I don't foresee that happening. Even though Rusty had a rough start and Coach S has clearly mentioned he made a mistake starting Rusty during the Clemson game, but what did happen as the season progress was, Rusty improved and Clayton did not, actually, Clayton's development, IMO has peaked. Rusty still made some mistakes, yet he was a Freshman and the mistakes he made can and should be corrected during the off-season.

Rusty was put in a very difficult situation and by season end he showed that he can become the leader on offense and poise needed from a leader. Not to many players can step-in as a freshman and become efficient right off the bat, Rusty showed the improvement that we needed to see from the QB position and the end. I would expect him to get better during the off-season, again making it very difficult for the others to surpass Rusty as the number one guy and will ultimately results a battle for who is number two.

The QB position will not be a problem, but who will be out FB
and who will step-up at the TE position could be more vital and important for our offense next year.

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07' Quarterbacks - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

I agree Bytor, You get a TE and A WR with the caliber of player we had in a C. Hill the passing game will be incredible. We may already have one or two we need to get them out of the shell. It is true about kids peaking early and you may be right about Rusty, he may be a late bloomer. I hope Cranor and the others are as well. This can only be good for the future of the program by keeping the depth chart loaded.
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07' Quarterbacks - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

Since it is most likely that Smith will be the QB and we have TE issues, why not look at Clayton as a TE? He has shown he can run. It is my understanding that he transfered from Michigan State because they wanted to convert him to a TE. He wanted to be QB. He got the opportunity and did not show improvement. Maybe this could solve a couple problems. He could even run some QB plays at times to confuse the defense.
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07' Quarterbacks - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton


CanadianOwl said

I know a lot of people around here are big on Jason Grant, but what's the big draw? Wasn't he a walk-on at Troy?

We have a bunch of scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, why would Grant pass them? I know he had to sit out this season, but his name has never come up with any of the coaching staff this year. Will he even be a factor?

Turned down a scholarship to play for KENTUCKY and accepted an academic sholarship to Troy, then "walked on"…also turned down a northern school…dont know which one though…
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07' Quarterbacks - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton


fauowl said

Since it is most likely that Smith will be the QB and we have TE issues, why not look at Clayton as a TE? He has shown he can run. It is my understanding that he transfered from Michigan State because they wanted to convert him to a TE. He wanted to be QB. He got the opportunity and did not show improvement. Maybe this could solve a couple problems. He could even run some QB plays at times to confuse the defense.

Exactly…but how likely is that to happen? He thinks he's a quarterback…would make a fine TE though…good hands too…
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