I have all the faith in the world in Joe Cox. I have seen the kid play and I know he has the competitive drive and leadership to be a solid quarterback for the Dawgs, especially with an improved offensive line to throw behind. So, this is in no way meant to be a slam against the Dawgs' new starter.
However, as I got to thinking about it I started to wonder, what will we do if he ends up crashing and burning?
Remember in 2006 when Joe Tereshinski was named the starter? Everyone thought that because he was a senior, and had been in the system the longest, he was the best qualified to run the offense. Plus, let's face it, Richt will always choose to go the senior route over an unproven freshman.
Well, Joe T. came out and won that first game handily. However, you had to temper your enthusiasm because, well, it was against Western Kentucky—not exactly a football school.
In game two, Joe T. suffered an ankle injury which allowed us a chance to see how the young Stafford could play. Stafford won the game, but he wasn't exactly blowing the doors off. It was clear he was a freshman quarterback who had seen limited snaps. We also got a look at Joe Cox who, for a time, looked like he might be the better option.
We got by South Carolina with an 18-0 win, but we owe that more to our defense than anything.
Joe Cox played exceptionally well in the game against Colorado, bringing us back from a near loss to victory. He gave us a glimpse of what he could do if behind center and made it look like Stafford would have to redshirt for the year and concede the spot to Cox.
Whatever the case may have been at the time, Joe Tereshinski was still the starter. However, losses to both Tennessee (51-33) and Vandy (24-22), in our own home stadium, made it frustratingly clear that Joe T. was not the man for the job. He was a nice kid, but definitely not SEC quarterback material.
Stafford proved to be better than Cox in the end and the rest is history.
I bring all of this up because if Joe Cox doesn't turn out to be the man that we all hope he is, there is no Stafford in the wings who can take over and run this offense. Sure, there is still Logan Gray, but let's be very honest with ourselves here: Gray has likely taken more snaps on special teams than at quarterback.
There are those who say that we have Aaron Murray and Zach Metterberger as well, but neither of them have any SEC game experience at this point, and that is a huge disadvantage.
The fact of the matter is this: If Cox doesn't pan out, we could be in very big trouble this year.
He needs to be better than average. I think he can and will be, but it's the nature of the beast to wonder, what if?