Society’s love affair with backup QBs doesn’t make sense
A big pet peeve of mine is how we, as a sports society, fall in love with the backup quarterback, before he’s ever accomplished anything.
Or the next recruit.
Or next draft pick.
Or minor league prospect.
It’s the whole “grass is greener” thing. It may be natural, but it is not — that’s NOT — an endearing, admirable or even desirable part of the human condition.
It’s a weakness. A flaw. Desperate. Something we should avoid doing.
Why do you have to fall in love with the backup quarterback, etc.? Why not appreciate the starter for everything he’s doing well?
Neil and I actually spend a good bit of time many weeks coming up with an idea for this point-counterpoint. We generally agree on a lot of things, and trust me, we believe what we write here each week and aren’t just trying to get a rise out of people.
Neil and I do not disagree on who should be starting at quarterback for Penn State this week. If Trace McSorley is healthy, it should be him. If he’s not healthy and can’t do everything the Nittany Lions’ RPO offense requires to give the team the best chance to win, then McSorley should take a seat in favor of Tommy Stevens.
I think that’s a reasonable conclusion we all can come to.
But there is another train of thought regarding the quarterback spot that, to me, is mind boggling.
It’s the belief that, because the Lions already have lost three games and have none of their biggest goals still in play, the coaches should go ahead and turn the starting job over to Stevens so they can find out what they have and start preparing him for next season.
That. Is. Ridiculous.
But it’s out there. Believe me, I know some of you think that way.
McSorley is the past. Stevens is the future.
The lunacy of that way of thinking is that it completely ignores what should be the most important thing in sports — the present.
Penn State still has three regular-season games left, plus a bowl game. There’s a chance to finish 10-3, a record most college football fans can only dream of for their team in a given season.
You play your best players. Now.
You try to win. Now.
I get that Stevens has potential. I get that PSU fans are looking forward to finding out what he can do.
But we already know what McSorley can do. He can do it all — anything you need him to do to win games, including running or throwing.
When he’s healthy.
Is Trace McSorley healthy? Can he be effective enough as a runner to make the RPO offense work?
As Neil pointed out, we don’t know.
Only McSorley and the coaches know.
If he’s anything close to 100 percent, he should remain the starter and play pretty much every snap the rest of the season.
If he’s only 80-90 percent, then sure, perhaps Stevens would be the better option to start this week.
Cory Giger can be reached at email@example.com.