I procrastinated over writing this post all summer. I want Quinton Porter to do well, but I am not optimistic. His career stats were not horrendous, but a little deceiving. The offense rarely clicked with him under center in 2003. Eagle Action poster Captain Coop surmised the situation well. His post follows. I’ll wrap up with my opinion below.
Captian Coop: "I just took a look at all the stats and game recaps from 2003 to refresh my memory as to exactly what Porter accomplished as QB that year. I think the sense around here [Eagle Action] (and, to be fair, in the media) is that Porter is an experienced, solid QB who just happened to get beat out by the stellar performance of Peterson, and that if Porter were to step back in this year and play like he did in 2003, we're a contender in our division. Based on what I found, if he doesn't make a major improvement, we're a .500 team at best this year:
Game One, Wake Forest: 22-39, 243 yards, 1 TD, 0 Int (2 fumbles, both lost). The numbers here look almost ok, but need to be taken in context. First, he lost the 2 fumbles, which more or less cost us the game. Second, 243 yards passing doesn't look so bad, until you consider that WFU gave up 280 yards per game in the air that year. Overall, a performance that was a lot worse than it looks on paper.
Game Two, Penn State: 10-21, 145 Yards, 2 TD, 1 Int. Had a nice 1st quarter and then was scattershot the rest of the game. This was not a good Penn State team, either.
Game Three: UConn: 14-27, 156 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int. Against a team not exactly known for its passing defense, and in a fairly close game, another unimpressive line.
Game Four: Miami: 6-18, 61 yards, 0 TDs, 1 Int. Horrific performance against a very good team. Just looked lost out there.
Game Five: Ball State: 17-25, 131 yards, 3 TDs, 0 Int. The three TDs were for a combined 6 yards. Throwing 25 passes and gaining 131 yards against a team this bad really speaks to the risk-averse decision-making that makes Porter such a favorite of TOB.
Game Six: Temple: 18-24, 308 yards, 3 TDs. Finally, a nice stat line. It came against a team that gave up 33 points per game that year, but it was a good performance.
Game Seven: Syracuse: 20-28, 249 yards, 2 TDs, 2 Ints. A big chunk of these yards came after BC was down 32-7 in the 4th quarter, so the yardage total isn't as good as it looks. Another solid performance, though.
Game Eight: Notre Dame: 13-25, 199 yards, 1 TD, 0 Int. Ho-hum game. [EAGLE IN ATLANTA NOTE: I am going to disagree with Coop here. Throwing was not impressive. But QP kept us in the game when special teams were falling apart. He hustled and ran around like a mad man. I thought this was going to be his turning point. Sad to say, it was not.]
Game Nine: Pitt 12-29, 186 Yards. 0 TD, 0 Int. Why even have a QB? He basically made no impact on this game with that stat line. His best contribution was not throwing interceptions. We scored 13 points and lost.
Game 10: WVU 8-14, 86 yards, 0 TDs, 0 Int. This was the game where PP took over and the offense was finally able to take some chances. Peterson threw for 231 yards that day, and although he was picked off 3 times, he threw 3 TDs and breathed some life into the offense.
Now, I would be willing to make some excuses for Porter's 2003 season. Yes, the risk-averse style that had him throwing 20+ passes for around 150 yards or less in a bunch of these games is coming down from TOB. Yes, the playcalling was paleolithic. Yes, the receivers dropped a lot of passes. But, Peterson stepped in with all the same excuses and the offense suddenly was significantly more effective. Against a late season schedule that included colder weather and tougher competition (no Ball State, Temple, UConn, Wake), Peterson threw for at least 230 yards in every game, and at least 2 TDs every game. The team scored 35, 34, and 35 points with Peterson running the show against Rutgers, Virginia Tech, and Colorado State. He also threw 3 of BC's 4 TDs in the WVU game (28 points). Meanwhile, the Porter-led offense had scored 24 against UConn...14 against Syracuse...13 against Pitt.
I'm not posting this to trash Porter. I just wanted to refresh our memories on his last starting season, and to make the point that we need IMPROVEMENT from him this year, not just his return. If he comes back playing like he did in 2003, we can expect a dropoff in our offensive production comparable to the difference between the offense under Peterson that year and the offense under Porter."
Now back to my opinion. No one is trashing Porter. He is a loyal kid, who is supposedly a nice guy. He handled last year’s redshirting and the sudden death of his father in 2003 as well as anyone could. But he still has to win football games. That’s the deal. And I have real doubt about his ability. He has the body, but has he learned how to run an offense?
Look at this table:
|Game||True 3 and outs|
**Please note that play by play was not available for Ball State.
That was Paul Peterson running the show. He was not perfect and we were not some offensive force, but he kept drives alive. We rarely went 3 and out. Now games are not exclusively won that way, but making plays and moving the chains gives your teammates confidence, helps the D and wears on your opponent. Can Porter do the same thing, or will he take off scrambling before the play is finished developing? Will TOB and Bible give him the free reign they gave Peterson?
(As for other QBs, Matt Ryan showed some promise last year. If he hits the field for anything other than mop up duty, we’ll have major growing pains.)
Reports of Porter’s maturity are encouraging. I am going to be a homer and say that he will have a good year. Predicated stat line: 2300 yards passing, 60% completion, 17TDs and 8 INTs. And he’ll start every game.
God, I hope I am right. He just needs to be solid for us to have a big year.