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Joe Licata: The Bull Run Debate

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Bull Run Debates Joe Licata. I am responding to the 10 statements from Conrad Mostiller

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The most important position on the field is the Quarterback. A great quarterback can mask many of the issues of a football team. Overall I do not see negativity towards Joe but disappointment especially this season. I will retort Conrad's ten points, some of which weren't my arguments.

#1 We Only Like Him Because He's Local /  People Crowned Licata as a Savior

UB fans do not care where it's players come from as long as they win. Especially if any player can take UB to the next level in the MAC. Would UB fans love to see a hometown hero be a difference maker, of course. For example, James Starks and Naaman Roosevelt.

This is the biggest point where Conrad and I differ. You should not have crowned Joe a savior. You should have seen that Joe was a much better option than what was trotted out on the field before Joe. The 2010 season was one to forget as I have stated numerous times. A 2-10 season with 1-7 in the MAC. The 2010 Bulls season was to football what Voldemort is to Harry Potter. A season that must not be named. This was a team that still had talent with Davonte Shannon, Peter Bittner, Terrell Jackson, Steve Means, Devon Hughes, Jake Silas, and oh yeah at QB Alex Zordich. You know you had a unmemorable career when the first thing many on this board remember was how attractive his mother was.

Then the debacle of all debacles. Big news broadcast over Twitter! Stay tuned! Chazz Anderson was bringing his talents to Amherst to be the starting QB for the 2011 season. Ironically tomorrow night will be four years from the only game that was watchable from the QB perspective that year. A win over Ohio with Tettleton at QB and Brazil running the ball. The rest of the season, it was painful to watch this offense: 3-9, 2-6 MAC. Chazz was a microcosm of Quinn. On paper it made sense, but just never materialized.

Joe as a red shirt freshman came in after a Zordich injury vs. Toledo.  Joe goes 3-1 as the starter and Joe Mania goes wild. The crown was clearly fastened on Joe's head. But let's look at those wins: Miami 4-8, Western Michigan 4-8, and UMASS 1-11, with a loss to 8-5 Bowling Green.  A win is a win but Joe was crowned the savior after a terrible run and beating weak teams.

Then 2013: The Perfect storm. No one can deny that the Bulls were given a very easy schedule and overall the MAC was down. Yes UB beat the teams they should have beaten. Yes UB has never beaten teams it should have beat but let's dig into the numbers. If you look at the MAC victories, Joe beat one team that had a winning record. That was Ohio at at 7-6. The record for the rest of the MAC teams: 15-58.  A 25% winning record. (E. Mich 2-10, W. Mich 1-11, UMass 1-11, Kent 4-8, & Miami 0-12)  The teams that Joe was defeated by was (Again I am removing the losses to Ohio State, Baylor, UConn and a win versus Stony Brook aka the 5 OT thriller) Toledo (7-5) and Bowling Green (10-4).

I do not want to dig deep into the 2014 season as the team ended up  5-6 overall and 3-4 in the MAC. So far this season Joe's statistical ratings are far below the last two seasons. Interceptions are coming at the worst time this year and are game killers regardless of the breakdown in the rest of the offense, including one into triple coverage last week versus Bowling Green. I saw Zach Maynard types of mistakes from Joe versus Penn State. I can forgive Zach in 2009 as he was a freshman. Joe isn't. Versus FAU Joe picks up a cross route late and never saw the underlying LB. I am not calling Joe a savior. Joe won games but the wins should have been expected.

#2 High Expectations

Speaking of expectations, we expected to have great offense and poor defense. Turns out we got the opposite. That's sucks, but it's okay.

No, it is not okay. College football has dramatic ups and downs with competition, heavy senior classes vs. younger players, star difference makes, etc. This was to be the UP year. Yes, expectations were high for Joe - and why not? Five years on campus and four years starting under center. Joe has two solid returning running backs, four starting caliber wide receivers, and two pass catching TE's. The o-line needed to replace three of the five offensive linemen and yes the three that left Amherst were outstanding players. We all hope that UB goes on a magical run and wins out the remainder of the schedule. They can. The defense is light years better than expected and there's way too much talent on the offensive side of the ball not to have success. But I look at Bowling Green, Nevada, and especially Penn State. All three games were winnable. A win versus Penn State would have been in many eyes the biggest win in UB history. (The MAC championship game to me was bigger) Penn State was down and ripe to be beaten. A win would have cemented Joe's legacy. Joe could have been a difference maker in all three and now we are having this debate.

#3 Licata in no Willy

This debate means very little to me. Sports has always been about comparing players. My take, if you ask me who would I want under center to win a football game, Joe vs Drew. I feel more comfortable with Drew.

#4 Licata's Stats are all earned in Garbage Time

I want to shift this to why Joe has so many slow starts. The Toledo game in 2013 was a game where I wanted to rip my hair out. Joe was terrible to start that game and the Bulls were down big. Zero points in the first half with four three and outs. Joe gets hot late and puts 41 points on the board. I am not calling this garbage time. A good performance ruined in a defeat. I can give you numerous games where it took Joe time to get in gear. EMU, Nevada, the bad Army loss with only 3 points in the first half, and especially Stony Brook. I do not want to rehash Stony Brook any longer.   Zero points the first three quarters versus Bowling Green as a freshman. A WMU game in 2013 where the Bulls score six points in the first half and after the opening drive five straight drives ended with Joe being sacked or an incomplete pass. It's happened throughout his career, just like his big numbers.

#5 Licata Can't Win the Big Game

It is shame that UB has had such a low level of football success. That until the Bulls really have a good run every team will be compared to the year 2008 and the players on that team. That team won a Big Game. We are talking about two players who beat teams with a collective win percentage of 38% for Drew and 24% for Joe. Drew only has one big win by record, but Joe's had more opportunities. Both guys lost their bowl games. The Ralph game against Bowling Green to win the MAC East saw Joe struggle and UB lose. That loss really hurt Joe's legacy. That is the big game that many talk about.

#6 Eye Test

Joe is struggling this year. He may not be physically right. We know about the hip surgeries and the injury to his non-throwing shoulder. I don't think that Joe is off so much because the system changed again. It is not like UB switched to the option. Joe has better weapons this year than last and still his production is dropping. However much you accept the eye test it is obvious Joe is off significantly from last year.

#7  Licata will not have Pro Potential

I agree with Conrad. Who cares? Do you know how many great MAC QB's never went to the NFL but had great careers?  We talked about Tettleton earlier and a great comparison to Joe is Alex Carder. Carder is playing arena league. I bet if you asked the WMU fans they would be very happy with his career.

Would Bulls fans like to see their QB one day in the NFL? Absolutely. The MAC has produced a boat load from All Stars to cups of coffee. Chad Pennington, Ben Roethlisburger, Byron Leftwich, Bruce Gradkowski, Nate Davis, Charlie Frye, Charlie Batch, Dan Lefevour, Keith Wenning, Drew Willy, and more.

#8 Arm Strength/No Touch/This Bad/Give Someone Else a Try

Joe can pass the ball. Joe has good touch. Talk about no touch. Maynard used to sling every pass. Now that was a QB with no touch. My point is that Joe is not 'garbage' or 'terrible.' My point is we cannot put Joe on pedestal and say he must have been great because look at all the numbers. He is number one in all these categories. But what is the saying about being the world's tallest little person. Or world's hottest garbage man.He's not a pinpoint thrower right now - ask Collin Lisa - and he's not throwing deep balls on a rope or dropping them into a trash can.

As far as giving someone else a chance. Lance was not given anyone who really could compete and push Joe.  I would like to see Daniel in mop up time but he is not a MAC QB.

#9 Licata Lacks Mobility

Yes he does. And if Joe is a pocket passer, that's not the end of the story. Then he needs to get rid of the ball much quicker. He does not help himself. There's only so much time in the pocket and system change or not he's taken sacks this year after holding the ball for too long.

#10 Licata Lacks the Will to Win

I do not buy this one as well. Just because Joe is not throwing temper tantrums on the sidelines don't think that Joe is not competitive.

My point here was not to bash Joe. My point is to push expectations for the QB position and the Bulls overall. We have so little to cling to and what we have we (including me) talk about incessantly. Thank you Joe for all you have done for UB football. You are a class act. I wish you a great run this year. I would love to see you in a Bowl Game to end your career. At the end of the day I wanted more and this year I expected more.