For your consideration I give you the stat lines of two QBs from the 2008 season.
CMP ATT YDS CMP% YDS/A TD INT RAT
QB 1: 183 320 1892 57.2 5.91 17 10 118.1
QB 2: 136 239 1744 56.9 7.30 13 5 132.0
QB 1 was a second year starter who at that point had three years of experience in his team’s offensive system.
QB 2 started fall camp as 5th string on the depth chart and put up those stats while splitting time in the first four games of the season and learning the offense as he went.
QB 2 as every Duck fan knows, is Jeremiah Masoli.
QB 1 is Cody Hawkins of the Colorado Buffalos. Cody put up that stat line last year after spending three years under the tutelage of current Duck Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich.
Confidence inspiring this is not.
For all the accolades we heaped upon Mike Bellotti when he stepped down last season, we knew two things about the guy. One – he knew how to run a hell of a football program. Two – his teams only went as far as their offensive coordinators could take them, a la Jeff Tedford and Chip Kelly.
So when Chip Kelly announced the hiring of Mark Helfrich this offseason, I was a bit surprised when fans and media didn’t look upon the announcement with a more critical eye. The guy doesn’t exactly have an A+ plus resume. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say the only reason he was hired was because of his local roots. If he was from West Virginia, he’s probably not our offensive coordinator right now.
And now, as our passing game struggles worse than Washington State’s, where’s the blame for Helfrich? I heard plenty of fans calling for Masoli to be benched during the game against Utah, I didn’t hear anyone complain about the new OC.
As Masoli is moving around the pocket like a robot, not making correct reads, and being just plain inaccurate, I cringe. Not for Masoli, but for Helfrich.
The o-line gave Masoli plenty of time against Utah to put up decent numbers. The game should have been a blowout. What we have is a QB regressing when he should be flourishing. He’s not regressing because his natural talents have left him.
Yes, Chip Kelly is still calling the plays, but he is not a man on an island. He’s got a lot of other responsibilities now. As the goducks.com bio for Mark Helfrich states “The Oregon native and the Ducks’ former graduate assistant coach… will concentrate his efforts on the Ducks’ passing attack.”
This isn’t all Masoli’s fault. Not even mostly.
I’m struggling to not throw out John Canzano-like hyperbole to accurately describe how pessimistic I’m feeling about Helfrich’s coaching abilities. I’ll just go with inept for now.