The lack of production at the quarterback position last year was almost laughable. With Offensive Coordinator Mike Sanford implementing an entirely new system, we should rarely go to many new snaps without seeing the ball in a play-makers hands. Sanford is best known for being Urban Meyer's OC at Utah during the days of number one pick Alex Smith. Some say that Sanford had little to do with designing Meyer's offense but there's no doubt that he gained plenty of experience and knowledge of a great system. The Utes went 12-0 in 2004 and we literally unchallenged in every game. The offense was headlined by Smith but the team rushed for more touchdowns than they threw, and as a team they rushed for nearly 3,000 yards. It will be key for our running backs and receivers to get the ball in their hands as often as possible because none of our quarterbacks has the complete package for this system like Smith did.
Our issues at the quarterback position could make up an entire post so I won't get into it too much. But between Justin Burke's "injuries", Adam Froman's inaccuracies, and Will Stein's lack of arm strength, the cards offense had a tough time finding a suitable signal caller. It's anybody's guess who has the best shot at being the starter to open the season but Froman would seem to have an edge because of his mobility and game experience. However, he seemed flustered at times and lacked touch on his passes, neither of which works in a spread offense based on timing. Justin Burke started the 2009 strong with an impressive showing at Kentucky, but he tailed off after getting injured. ( I think. Our former coach guarded injury reports like an ugly girl guards her makeup) I could easily see him impressing the new coaching staff with his short passing accuracy and intangibles. He actually might be a better fit than Froman because he is less of a scrambler and most west-coast based systems are all about making a read and getting rid of the ball.
However, Coach Strong might decide to start from scratch and give one of the three quarterbacks he signed in the 2010 class a shot at it. Freshman Dominique Brown is the name that most Cards fans expect to hear a lot of for the next few years. Brown reminds me a lot of former Bowling Green star Josh Harris. He has tons of raw talent and athleticism, and with the system being based around short passes and quick screens, his lack of passing polish shouldn't be as much of an issue. I personally see him being at least a "wildcat" type of option from day one. Fellow freshman Luke Woodley enrolled in January and he will have an obvious leg up on the competition. Woodley is much more of a pocket passer, but his frame and passing technique gives him a good chance at flourishing early. Coach Strong has said that he will start freshman Marcus Smith off at the quarterback position but in my honest opinion I don't see him lasting very long there. This guy is a long fluid athlete and would be better used as a receiver or safety. Everything that I have read on him seems to say that he is open to play any position.
All of this could be moot by the beginning of next season with the verbal commitment of local standout DeMarcus Smith. Smith is being touted as one of the top quarterbacks in the country by every major recruiting service, and will most likely be the top recruit in the 2011 class. As of now Coach Strong doesn't look to be recruiting any other signal callers but Floridian Teddy Bridgewater might want to hook back up with two of his now former targets in Michaelee Harris and Corvin Lamb. With a couple of seniors and a good crop of young guys the position is looking up for the next few seasons.
The deep running back position will be next....