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Can we have a rational discussion about Davis?

Ok so here is how a football by week works. Right now Jeff Quinn and the team are killing themselves getting ready for NIU and fixing some of the problems that have plagued us through this season. Fan's on the other hand have a week to slack off.

And what better use of the down time than to gripe about the Quarterback. It's a time honored tradition of fans to ignore things like a new line, a new system, and a difficult schedule and put it all on the Quarterback.

To be fair Davis has had some really spotty play even when he has time and a man open so questioning the quarterback situation does not make you a fair weather fan, hell quarterback questions are popping up all over the MAC as fans of several teams all wonder who should carry their banner.

  1. Temple and Toledo (even though they are winning)
  2. Akron (even though they, like UB are breaking in a new coach)
  3. Ball State (This has quieted after dismantling CMU)

Spurned by four pick sixes in the past three weeks, a sub 50% completion rating many UB fans have questioned Quinn's choice of Davis as the starter.

A season of *UP* and downs:

Most fans are not in favor of cupcake games. Mid major fans don't like to roll in Rhode Island any more than Florida fans look forward to Miami of Ohio. First it gives a sense that your team needs a 'soft' game, and in the age when six wins gets a bowl there is nothing quite as sour as the taste of a bowl obtained by running all over an FCS also ran.

Second there is always the risk of actually losing that game, Michigan was not bad the year they lost to Appy, they beat Florida in a bowl game and finished ranked in the top 20 (9-4).

But perhaps the most underrated risk is raising expectations for rebuilding teams. Case and point Buffalo. The only offensive UP we have had this season was the Rhode Island Game. While the Rams are better than most expected this year they are still a bottom rung CAA team. Jerry Davis walked out of that game looking like the next Drew Willy, better than Maynard ever looked last season. But then, against three solid defenses in a row reality set in.

Davis by the numbers:

Rhode Island 21 35 302 60 40 4 1 164.48
@Baylor 18 46 163 39.1 18 0 1 64.54
UCF 15 31 190 48.4 22 1 2 97.61
@Connecticut 18 42 227 42.9 60 3 3 97.54
@Bowling Green 19 34 241 55.9 32 3 4 121.01

I know, it looks really ugly, but take a moment to look at the Trend, Especially the rating. Davis *is* improving, you wouldn't know it by the interception returns that we have had to endure but he is finally back over 50% completion and I would expect that, aside from Temple and NIU, he will continue to improve against the more shaky defenses on our schedule.

Davis in UB History

It's easy to forget just how bad a freshman Quarterback can be, lets see how the first five starts of Jerry Davis stack up against the last two signal callers:

1 21 35 302 4 1 164 1 12 19 159 1 0 150 1 5 9 54 0 0 105
2 18 46 163 0 1 64 2 24 35 400 4 1 196 2 10 15 88 0 0 115
3 15 31 190 1 2 97 3 22 35 184 1 1 110 3 30 38 288 2 0 159
4 18 42 227 3 3 97 4 26 41 281 1 4 109 4 12 25 71 0 1 63
5 19 34 241 3 4 121 5 16 31 210 1 1 112 5 10 22 113 0 2 70
Total 91 188 1123 11 11 106 - 100 161 1234 8 7 134 - 67 109 614 2 3 109
Jerry Davis Zach Maynard Drew Willy

On the whole his numbers are a little worse but neither Drew Willy or Zach Maynard was tearing up the field when they first got their shot, and neither of them were breaking in a whole new offense during their first year (I suppose Willy, as a true Freshman was but his line and skill players were not).

So what were we expecting, I have to throw we in there because I found myself on the WTH bandwagon until someone set me straight. What were you expecting. I suppose the most damning thing is not the number of Picks but the fact they have lead directly to 28 points against us. It's not the long Balls that Davis is getting picked off on that drives me mad, its the screens, the short outs, the shuffle pass. But is struggling in that department really enough of a reason to change up the QB?

Davis, as a young QB, in the MAC

In the past two seasons the following MAC teams have started new Quarterbacks either straight out of the gate or because their initial starter struggled or season ending injury.

  • 2009: Ball State, EMU, Kent, Akron, Miami, EMU, Temple
  • 2010: Temple, WMU, CMU, Toledo, Bowling Green

Not one of these was a dream scenario for fans. Among the 2009 Class Temple's passing game was so bad that their QB of 2009 is now a tight end. Stan Parrish played Musical QB's all season, EMU went from losing respectably to getting blown out. Dysert of Miami, Nicely of Akron, and Keith of Kent all showed promise but none of them were among the leaders in the MAC.

This season has features more QB struggles. Temple is still getting by on the ground game, and WMU and CMU have had their issues. Schilz of Bowling Green has shown some promise but he has but three starts under his belt. Danton of Toledo, despite having a lot of game experience from last season, has just five touchdowns against four interceptions.

Davis among our Current QB's

Alex Dennison has gotten a few shots here or there, and in those games he has not performed any better than Davis. Behind them there is a stable of True Freshman that did not have the benefit of spring ball or summer conditioning.

Jerry Davis 91 188 1123 48.4 5.97 11 11 106.2
Alex Dennison 4 11 30 36.4 2.73 0 1 41.1

To be fair to Dennison playing only spot duty makes it very hard to get into any kind of rhythm you can't be sure how effective he would be if he was 'the guy'.

The Challenges

As I eluded to above, Davis in addition to overcoming his own inexperience all the players around him are making an adjustment to the new offense.

  • A pro set line learning a new system who spent the summer getting more lean and quick
  • A set of running backs who seem unable to hold onto the ball
  • A murderers row of defenses out of conference

So what say you UB Nation, how long would you make the leash?