You can find plenty more informed opinions and insights on Clemson’s decision to bench starter Cullen Harper for unproven former uberrecruit Willy Korn both from the Charleston Post and Courier’s Larry Williams’ blog and from the Official Dot Com Diva’s take.
From far away, I get a sense of deja vu about fifth-year incumbent starter getting yanked in favor of a guy in his second season in the program. Wait, that’s because that’s exactly what happened at Virginia Tech last month when Tyrod Taylor took over for Sean Glennon.
The common denominator? An (at best) underperforming or (at worst) just plain bad offensive line forcing a team to look at a more mobile option.
What’s waaaaay more interesting is the general disaster befalling the ACC’s starting quarterbacks at the start of the season. And now that most teams are either at or near the midpoint, there’s an easy way to explore this statistically.
While it’s massively time-consuming to to figure out when quarterback changes were made and do a raw snap count, it’s not hard at all to compare individual attempts to a team total. It also is relatively offense-neutral, which permits the inclusion of especially run-heavy offenses (cough, Georgia Tech, cough).
And that’s where this chart comes into play:
|Riley Skinner, WF
|Thaddeus Lewis, DU
|Chris Crane, BC
|Cullen Harper, CU
|Christian Ponder, FSU
|T.J. Yates, UNC
|Josh Nesbitt, GT
|Peter Lalich, UVA
|Russell Wilson, NCSU
|Sean Glennon, VT
|Jacory Harris, THE U
|Jordan Steffy, UM
By the way, no less than five ACC quarterbacks —- Boston College’s Matt Ryan, Harper, Lewis, Georgia Tech’s Taylor Bennett and Yates —- accounted for at least 90 percent of their respective team’s passing attempts last season.
Nine of the opening week starters eventually made at least two-thirds of their team’s throws. (Only Steffy, Glennon and Miami’s Kirby Freeman did not).
That’s veritable stability compared to this year. At this point, if five opening week starters aren’t under 50 percent of a team’s attempts and nine aren’t under 90 percent, it would mean an extremely startling shift occurs in the next few weeks.
—- Patrick Stevens