1. The talent level is much worse than we ever imagined
2. The coaching staff is lacking perspective and leadership
Neither of those alternatives are good. In this case I think the staff mishandled the QBs. We will find out shortly. Regardless, a change usually provides a breath of fresh air and helps the team progress. Here is a look back on the QB controversies since the Henning era. In most cases, making the change paid off for BC.
1995: Mark Hartsell vs Matt Hasselbeck
The situation: Hartsell was the big armed incumbent. But his problem was never his arm, it was his decision making (sound familiar). He looked lost at times. Hasselbeck was an afterthought. He was the backup while the QB of the future Scott Mutryn redshirted.
What happened: Hartsell was giving games away -- most blatantly against Michigan State -- and Hasselbeck showed promise in a few mop up series. Hartsell missed a start against Army and Hasselbeck got his chance. BC got killed by the Black Knights that day and Hasselbeck didn't look like the QB he would become. Hartsell would take back over, continue to play bad football and BC would have a losing season.
Verdict: Hasselbeck should have played more. As we would soon find out, Matt was a very good QB. He didn't have the pedigree or the biggest arm, so the coaches didn't want him, yet he showed that QB is also about pressure and in game decisions.
1996: Matt Hasselbeck vs Scott Mutryn
The situation: Mutryn was the chosen one and Hasselbeck was the guy who "wasn't as good as Hartsell."
What happened: After a competitive summer camp, Mutryn was named the starter for BC's opener in Hawaii. He struggled and Hasselbeck came off the bench in relief. He led BC to a last minute win and won the job.
Verdict: BC has a terrible year but it wasn't Matt Hasselbeck's fault. He played well and kept us in a few games. In the whole scheme of things Mutryn was a pretty good QB, just not as good as Matt.
2003: Quinton Porter vs Paul Peterson
The situation: Porter was the groomed product of the TOB system. Peterson was a undersized JUCO transfer.
What happened: Porter was the starter, while Peterson got a series or two in the second quarter to get him game experience. To many fans, Peterson looked good in his limited time but he never did anything to set himself apart. Porter injured his hand against WVU and Peterson nearly helped BC steal the game in a comeback. He started the next week and ended up being one of BC's most effective starters.
Verdict: In a way I think this situation is closest to what we have now. The coaching staff had a lot invested in Porter and wanted him to succeed for many reasons. Peterson was new on campus and "not ready" or whatever rationalization they told themselves at the time. Ultimately Peterson's ability to come in and win despite being smaller and not having the arm, show how you can't always measure a QB based on practice.
2005: Matt Ryan vs Quinton Porter
The situation: Porter was the fifth year SR ready for his time. Ryan was just a goofy kid who looked overwhelmed in the Syracuse game the year before.
What happened: Porter looked terrible and got injured against Florida State. Ryan came off the bench and looked good. He also played well in his start against Clemson. Once Porter got healthy, the job was his again. He had a terrible game against Wake Forest. Ryan came off the bench and led a miracle comeback. Porter blew the UNC game the following week. Ryan was named the starter and had a great close to the season.
Verdict: This will always be the biggest mistake of TOB's tenure. If we had won the UNC game we would have gone to the ACC Championship Game. After the Wake game it was clear to the whole world that Ryan was special and better. Yet the staff stuck to their guns. I will give Spaz credit for not making this mistake. It didn't take him two losses to admit Shinskie was not the guy.
2008: Chris Crane vs Dominique Davis
The situation: Crane was the physically talented guy who had waited his turn behind Ryan. Dominique Davis was a flyer recruit that had moved up a very shallow depth chart.
What happened: Crane was pretty bad from the start. When BC lost to Georgia Tech, the staff struggled with every option and elected to roll with Crane. Fans, including this blogger, felt they should have given Davis a chance. Just as Crane was improving he got hurt and Davis took over.
Verdict: Although Davis did enough to get BC into the Championship Game once he played most fans realized the staff was right to stick with Crane.
I wish Spaz had handled this process differently, but I think playing Rettig Saturday will benefit everyone now and in the future. I just hope he plays well enough that we look back on this and say, "we found the right guy."