Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick took over the reins of the Bronco offense under circumstances that were not the best. He was the next QB under center following NCAA record-setter Kellen Moore. Filling those shoes was hardly an easy chore.
The good news for Southwick, though, is that he played 98 percent of the games under center during the regular season, with only backup Grant Hedrick seeing minimal time in replacement. Redshirt freshman Jimmy Laughrea didn’t set foot on the field in the regular season.
And because the Bronco offense was a shade of its former self, all bets are off that Southwick will be the guy in 2013. After all, he was pushed for the job by true freshman Nick Patti. Patti has had a year to train, learn and mature.
The Broncos have had a verbal commitment from a 6’4” quarterback out of Arizona named Ryan Finley, but coach Chris Petersen might be loathe to start a true freshman unless there is no way he cannot start him.
There are many things going on, and a lot can change in the next 8-9 months. Keeping that in mind, let’s look at some of the reasons why Patti may be positioned to snag the job of helming the Bronco offense while relegating Southwick to a backup role.
Nick Patti graduated from high school early and was enrolled at Boise State in time to participate in spring ball. He pushed Joe Southwick for the starting QB job as a true freshman and then was red-shirted.
If you see him on the sideline during a Bronco game, he is wearing a headset, which means he gets input from the coaches throughout the game. With a year under his belt inside the system when the Broncos start to look at who will start in 2013, Patti may be perfectly situated to take the job.
When it came to throwing the football, Joe Southwick was ranked No. 52 in the nation, averaging only 18 completions per game at a 66.67 percent clip.
It took most of the season for Southwick to stop looking down receivers and then trying to throw the ball into tight double coverage. He was much improved at the end of the season that he was at the start, and though that is to be expected, Southwick still was backup to Moore for a couple of years and had plenty of time to learn under a master of the timing pass.
From a stats perspective, Southwick failed to make an open-and-shut case for being the starter in 2013. Even if coach Chris Petersen didn’t believe in having a player win the job in camp, Southwick did leave the door wide open for another player to step in and take the job away from him.
Joe Southwick proved that when the pocket breaks down and he has to do it, he can. That may be something that Boise State will need in the resume of whoever starts under center.
Patti’s high school credentials—which have to be taken with a grain of salt because high school and college are vastly different beasts—proves that he can do both. During his junior and senior years in high school in Florida, Patti threw for 4,414 yards and 51 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,003 yards and 10 touchdowns.
With Jay Ajayi coming back and Jack Fields a strong contender to back up Ajayi, the Broncos run attack seems like it is in good hands.
And speaking of hands, the receiver corps has some solid players returning in 2013, like Matt Miller, Geraldo Boldewijn, Aaron Burks, Kirby Moore, Dallas Burroughs, Shane Williams-Rhodes, Holden Huff and Gabe Linehan.
The Broncos needs a quarterback that can get the ball to the receivers if for no other reason than to take pressure off the running game. The Broncos have the stable of receivers; what they need is someone that can get the ball to them more frequently.