If I could put Saturday’s matchup against Virginia Tech into one word, it would be humiliating.
Montel Harris carried the ball 19 times for 111 yards. Mark Herzlich had his first interception after overcoming Ewing's sarcoma—a rare form of foot cancer.
The rest of the defense? They held a potent Hokie offense to 19 points, including a paltry 2.7 yards per rush.
Most games, that type of production is enough to win, but not with Dave Shinskie at the helm.
If you watched this game, you know how terrible Uncle Dave played. His numbers—12-of-25 for 130 yards and two interceptions—don't even begin to do justice to the play of our sophomore quarterback.
So far this season, Shinskie's decision-making ability has been abhorrent. He throws into double coverage, he misses wide-open receivers (like when he had Johnathan Coleman uncovered on a go route), and he takes sacks when he should just throw the ball away. Hell, he even lined up behind the guard during the first game. But one play on Saturday sticks out in my mind.
The Eagles twice marched the ball down to the Virginia Tech 10-yard line. The first time Shinskie threw an interception. Surprise, surprise. The second time? With only 15 seconds remaining in the half and no timeouts remaining, Shinskie got flushed from the pocket and tried to scramble for the touchdown. Only problem is that once the pressure came, Uncle Dave failed to get out of bounds.
Instead of stopping the clock and taking the points, Shinskie tried for the hero play, only to be stopped a yard from the end zone. It's an unforgivable decision, and I'm not the only one who thinks so.
That's right. The man who loves to throw a five-yard out to his tight end on 3rd-and-15 is out of a job. After this lackluster offensive performance, coach Frank Spaziani announced there would be a new quarterback starting against Notre Dame on Saturday night.
This week, practice should be interesting; sophomore Mike Marscovetra and freshman Chase Rettig duke it out for the starting job. Although I'd rather see what the freshman is capable of, my money is on M&M, who has already received some playing time behind center.
On the season, Marscovetra has completed eight of 13 passes for 92 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Unfortunately, he may not make the quickest reads, as he has managed to take three sacks in limited playing time.
While Rettig is unproven, going forward, he provides the best chance of winning. The 6'3" Rettig is the most highly recruited quarterback to enter the heights since Matt Ryan in 2003. Ranked as the 10th best QB by ESPN and 21st by Rivals, Rettig was the Eagles' top recruit and an All-American player. He may be young, but I say throw him into the fire. He's the quarterback of the future, and I declare that the future should start this week.
The Eagles start two freshman wide receivers in Johnathan Coleman and Bobby Swigert. Add in sophomore Clyde Lee and injured freshman Shakim Phillips, and you have great hope for the future. Although Montel Harris is a junior, his backup Sterlin Phifer is just a frosh. A young and developing offense like this is going to take its lumps. There is a serious lack of experience, and growing pains are inevitable.
That being the case, why not let Rettig start? He's more talented than Marscovetra, even if Mars has more experience. Just watching Chase's highlights on YouTube, you see a quarterback with a superb arm and a high level of athleticism. He's a true pocket passer, but he's comfortable rolling out of the pocket or breaking the pocket entirely and picking up yards on the ground.
A Saturday night game against hated Notre Dame isn't the ideal time to play a quarterback with no experience. I can admit that. It's a high-pressure situation and a nationally televised game, and letting a freshman start may seem like throwing in the towel. But it's not.
This Eagle team has a fantastic defense and one of the best running games in the ACC. They are equipped to win now. They need a quarterback that can manage the game without giving it away like Shinskie—somebody that can be used sparingly while pounding the run game. I believe Rettig is that guy.
As much as I would love to see what our highly touted freshman looks like, I realize it's more fantasy than it is reality. Marscovetra has been getting reps with the first team all season, and come Saturday, I expect him to be lined up behind center.
And you know what? I don't care. Dave Shinskie is out, and that's all I could ask for.