There’s a phrase my grandmother used to say, it went a little something like, “you don’t have a pot to tinkle in, nor a window to toss it out”—that’s the clean version. It essentially meant, you are in a world of trouble because no matter what you do, you are doomed.
It’s a phrase that comes to mind when I think of today’s college football players who may be missing out on big numbers and big NFL dollars because they don’t have a good quarterback at the helm—the wide receiver in particular.
Think about it, where would Dez Bryant be without Zac Robinson? How far would Golden Tate have gone minus Jimmy Clausen? Maybe, maybe not, but the fact is having a good quarterback is something that can, sometimes, make or break a wide receiver’s chances at stardom.
What follows are the names of a few guys who could find themselves in a tough spot next season due to their team’s issues at signal caller.
A.J. Green started his freshman season at Georgia with a No. 1 draft pick throwing it his way. Matthew Stafford and A.J. Green paired up for 56 receptions and 963 yards in 2008. That was good enough to earn Green SEC Freshman of The Year honors and bring legitimate hope for an encore in 2009.
Unfortunately for A.J., lightning didn’t strike twice. The introduction of Joe Cox as the teams starting quarterback meant more reps for Green, but it also meant he had a target on his back. He missed several games due to injury and was forced to make dangerous catches thrown too short or long by his inexperienced quarterback.
In spite of it all, he ended the year with 808 yards on 53 catches.
2010 has already promised another young quarterback and the very real possibility that the running game will be more prevalent than the passing one—at least early on. That could mean even fewer opportunities for Green to shine on the field.
No one is saying that Dayne Crist can’t toss the long ball. Nor can we assume that the newly implemented spread offense instituted by Brian Kelly won’t be as prolific in South Bend as it was in Cincinnati. However, we do know this, implementation takes time and Crist isn’t a given.
Where does that leave Michael Floyd? Well, for 2010, it leaves him with serious doubts that he will be able to break out next season—particularly since Golden Tate is gone.
In 2009, Floyd amassed 795 yards and nine touchdowns despite missing five games. Of the seven games he played, five of them went for more than 100 yards.
He’s the real deal, no doubt about that, and he will likely face some growing pains as he adjusts to his new offense and it’s new quarterback.
Varner manages to stand out in a major way despite being featured on a Duke team that is largely overlooked in the ACC and college football as a whole.
His 2009 totals were good enough to place him in good company, numbers wise, but he will enter the 2010 season without a proven quarterback—Thaddeus Lewis, has moved on.
If the spring game is any indication, there will be more running and less passing as the Blue Devils head into 2010. Even more, no matter who coach Cutcliffe pegs as the starter, there is little guarantee that that he will spend the entire season at the helm.
Either way, Varner’s numbers will dip next season.
Larmond’s numbers won’t stand out to you on paper but that doesn’t mean he’s not a beast on the field. Last season he tallied 596 yards on 29 receptions (20.55 YPC).
He’s got great size and can make the big-play when needed. The issue for him is his quarterback, Dave Shinskie, is horribly inaccurate and the Eagles rely more on Montel Harris (RB) for their offensive spark.
If the Eagles had a better air-game to speak of, one that matched the Matt Ryan led 2007 team, who knows where Larmond’s numbers could soar.
Before all the Aggies stage a revolt and ask why NWA—Nwachukwu nickname—is on this list when Jerrod Johnson is clearly one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, let me speak my piece.
The problem for Nwachukwu isn’t that his quarterback is awful, it’s that his quarterback has too many other options. Nwachukwu is a good receiver on a team that features quite a few talented pass-catchers on its roster—including emerging sophomore Ryan Swopes.
Nwachukwu is going to find it hard to stay in the sights of his quarterback with so many other hands in the air.
Give credit to Boykin for making the most of every grab because it will be tough sledding for him to get much love as a receiver at Virginia Tech. Last season, Boykin hauled in 39 passes for 822 yards. That’s more than 20 yards per catch. Imagine what he might have been able to do with 55 grabs or more last season?
He’s got the skills, the size, and the hands to be raking in a 1,000 yards or more every season but he will struggle to reach those numbers as a Hokie—especially with Tyrod Taylor at the helm.
Is it Taylor’s fault? Not necessarily, since the Hokies offense is geared more towards the run than the pass. However, if Taylor were allowed to take more chances tossing the ball, perhaps Boykin would have more room to make things happen on the field and that would not be a bad thing.
The Ducks have not been passing the ball much lately but the prospect of more air is possible with the suspension of Jeremiah Masoli. The only problem is, neither Nate Costa nor Darron Thomas are sure to be ready come game time and that puts the production of Jeff Maehl in doubt.
Last season, Maehl caught the ball 53 times for 696 yards. Those numbers may seem unimpressive, but consider the fact that the Ducks ran 547 times and threw 197, and his numbers don’t look half bad at all.
Maehl will have to develop chemistry with his new quarterback if he expects to improve upon his numbers from last season and that is a prospect made more difficult by the fact that he won’t know exactly who that will be until this coming fall.
The Vols have had a tough time this off-season and, although the coaching staff is now in place and the dust is beginning to settle on the madness, there are still some doubts heading into next season.
For one, who will be the quarterback? Jonathan Crompton is gone. Add to that the departure of not only the top running back in Montario Hardesty, but his likely replacement in Bryce Brown, and you have an offense that seems like it will take a big step back in 2010. The person who will be most affected by that regression is Jones.
Last season, he finally began to some into his own, catching for more than 650 yards and four touchdowns. This season promises more questions than answers and that makes an encore by Jones less likely.
Here’s a question, when Ricky Stanzi cocks his arm back to throw, are you secretly praying that he finds the ball in the hands of a black and gold jersey?
Stanzi is dreadfully inconsistent and he never seems to maintain a high-level of play over more than a game or two. That makes it difficult for great receivers like McNutt to produce the way you know he can.
Despite being the No. 2 target for the Hawkeyes last season, McNutt still managed to grab 38 receptions for 674 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s nearly a 20 yards per catch average.
Imagine what McNutt could do if his quarterback always remembered to pass it to the guy in the black jersey?
Adam Weber was not a good quarterback in 2009. He was quite bad and if not for the freak of nature that was Eric "I don’t miss anything thrown my way" Decker, then Weber would have been made to look even worse.
Well, the world got a peak into what McKnight can do and they were not disappointed as he shook his way to 311 yards on 17 catches—while appearing in only five games last year.
He would be the heir apparent to Decker’s No. 1 throne but considering the fact that Adam Weber could still be the quarterback, I don’t know that you can call that a good thing.