Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick has spent most of this season tripping in the giant shoes left behind by Kellen Moore, but at least now he is learning to stand up.
Southwick is proving at the end of the season that he is not without hope and the Broncos don't need to look elsewhere for next year's quarterback.
The Broncos are 9-2 this season—a solid record by all accounts, but not exactly up to their lofty standards. The Broncos had to replace a lot of players from the 12-1 team a year ago, but the unquestioned biggest hole to fill was created by the departure of program-defining quarterback, Kellen Moore.
Junior Joe Southwick was charged with the task. No one expected him to be as good as Moore, but he was expected to be better than he has been.
On the season, Southwick has thrown for 2,267 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Last year, Moore threw for 3,800 yards, 43 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Southwick has had a terrible time avoiding mistakes and he has thrown a pick in seven of 11 games this season. And he has done this while playing in a low-risk, dink-and-dunk offense that is a shell of what we've grown accustomed to from Boise State.
However, this is Southwick's first season as a starter and let's face it, the young man does not have the talent to be elite. There were going to be some growing pains.
Well, the good news for the Broncos is that Southwick is learning and he has been fantastic in his last two games. Southwick is 34-of-49 with 425 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions over the last two. He has been efficient and smart, and he has functioned well in the offense.
Southwick has enjoyed good pass protection in this stretch and it has allowed him to gain confidence. He is making quicker, more confident reads.
These are the performances that Southwick needs to build on. These are the performances Boise State needs him to build on.
With a wiser, more efficient Southwick, the Broncos will have a competent enough offense to pair with their excellent defense to make another run at going undefeated next season.