Monday, October 8, 2007

Is Anyone the Answer?

last month, I asked if Ben was the right man for the job at quarterback. Things haven't exactly been peaches-and-creme with the big southpaw. When he was replaced by Pat for the Washington game, I asked if Cowan could be the answer. Now that both are banged up, I'm wondering if anyone can fill the breach? With two weeks to prepare for a huge game against #2 California, coaches Dorrell and Norvell will have to see if they can get someone ready to take control of this offense.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson

Mac has been our backup quarterback the entire season. He was behind Olson for the first two games, then behind Pat for the Washington game, and finally back behind Ben for Oregon State and Notre Dame. However, against the Irish, he sure didn't look like a kid the coaches had been preparing to take the reigns for 6 weeks. I'm sure Mac is a better quarterback than what he showed last Saturday. He was obviously, and understandably, nervous and his confidence must have sunk after the first few turnovers. The coaches didn't exactly put him in a good situation either, placing the burden of moving the team on his shoulders.

Of all the backups, Mac is the most experienced. He got thrown in the deep end of the pool, and almost drowned, but you got to figure he'll only getter better from here. He had a pair of decent drives against the Irish and with a better call on that 4th-and-one (like maybe using our short-yardage back Moline!), he could have at least kept the chains moving on a third.

That being said, I don't think this kid has the skills, at this point, to be a real offensive weapon. He made some poor decisions last week as well, so we'll have to see if he can keep his cool under pressure. He can probably manage a game but I wouldn't expect much more.

Osaar Rasshan

Rasshan has been an intriguing figure for the Bruins at quarterback for years now. There always seems to be a small faction of fans on UCLA message boards who think Osaar should be the starting quarterback. That group of fans might finally have their moment in the sun. Rasshan hasn't taken a snap at quarterback for a few months now but Dorrell has said that he'll move Osaar back to quarterback this week. He's been at receiver this season.

Rasshan is an athletic and talented player. His senior season in high school, he had 1,716 yards passing and 860 yards rushing. That was three years ago, but you have to think that Osaar is a much bigger duel-threat quarterback than what we've seen so far this year. The offense hasn't exactly been playing well with Pat and Ben, so putting in a running quarterback sounds like a great alternative. Maybe the coaches can install a simple package that allows Osaar a chance to maximize his athletic strength.

Before you get too excited about Rasshan, let's remember that he was beaten out this summer for the 3rd quarterback slot by Mac. That's right, the guy who threw 4 interceptions and gave up a fumble on Saturday has looked better in practice than Rasshan. It might be the system, but the Bruins will have a hard time switching to a spread-option offense for Osaar. He'll have to find a way to work with the WCO.

Chris Forcier

C-Force is another intriguing option at quarterback. He is a lot like Rasshan, in that he is a multi-dimensional offensive weapon who is athletic and fast running the ball. He is expected to red-shirt this season, so he would really need to show something special in practice for the coaches to put him in at quarterback for Cal.

Chris racked up 2,382 yards and threw 31 touchdown passes as a Senior in high school last year. He is quick on the ground and put in a 4.4 forty time in one combine. He hasn't looked that good passing the ball, however, in practices this summer. He has some problems with the mechanics of his throw and it would be ideal for him to work those things out before getting thrown into a D-1 college football game.

What to Do?

I guess we'll see if Ben is able to play after his MRI today. If he is a no-go then maybe Pat could be ready. He'll be in limited workouts this week and I have a feeling that he won't be available against the Bears. I think the coaches are going to have to seriously consider which of the players above will be given the nod in two weeks.

Maybe the coaches could go with a two quarterback system against Cal? Florida used Tim Tebow at times last season, and he was very effective with his running ability. If the Bruins mix in Rasshan with a simplified spread-like package then that could cause the California defense some problems. They would have no footage on that offense and the element of surprise could give the Bruin offense a fighting chance in this game. Mac could be used to help manage the game and we rely on Markey, Bell, and Moline to really carry the offense. The emphasis on running the ball could even give Mac some easy opportunities to mix in a few passes in safe situations.

I can't say I'm all too excited about any of the above players taking the starting spot. There is very little experience in this group and even a best-case scenario may not be enough to beat a high-flying Bear offense. Our defense has played very well lately, but it will take a herculean effort against California to keep the Bruins in that game. I guess we'll have our answer soon enough.


Anonymous said...

Why is it so difficult to do something so simple. To have Rasshan be the qb the entire game isn't plausible because of the system and his lack of experience in it-okay.

However, are you telling me that in 3rd & 4th & short a college coach can't put a running qb in, and roll him out on a pass-run option with a back behind him?

I think that's preposterous.

Anonymous said...

"scrambling" QB's never look as good in practice, because their greatest asset, improvising and running, doesn't really register. I heard reports in spring and fall practices that Tim Tebow and Jake Locker weren't lighting it up in practice either, but their respective coaching staffs were smart enough to know that their athletic ability would show up in the actual games. Ossar should have gone in there when it was apparent that Bethel-Thompson was imploding. It isn't as if he doesn't know the offense. He's been in it for as long as Bethel-Thompson has and I think longer.

Anonymous said...

Haven't we've all seen that the question is not which quarterback should play. The "anyone" is anyone but KD to coach this team. The walk-on comes in and he finally allows the playbook to be opened up, with disasterous results. BO is a drop-back QB and KD has him dinking and dunking. PC succeeds only because he improvises off the bad play-calling or because of our pathetic O-line "protection." C-Force? Are you kidding? Given our coaching staff's track record of preparing players, it would be like giving him a death-sentence.

With all that said. Platoon MBT and Osaar, simplify the playbook, see who has the hot hand, and tear new a$$holes in that O-line. Start PC when he's ready to come back. When BO is ready, he's the backup until KD is gone and the WCO is scrapped. Otherwise, he's gonna get injured again and blow his NFL chances.

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