A quick preseason scan of the SoCon shows one common ingredient – someone kinda new at quarterback.
Only two teams are returning someone who started every game last season.
Quick! Name them!
Entering 2012, only two teams – Elon and The Citadel – have a returning quarterback who started every game in 2011. The remaining seven teams have quarterbacks who either played sparingly as a backup, started midway through the season, split time, contributed at another position or transferred into the program this year.
Take a look at last year’s top four teams: Georgia Southern needs to replace two-year starter Jaybo Shaw; Wofford must replace Mitch Allen; Appalachian State (which is probably in the best shape at QB) brings back Jamal Jackson, but he only started the final seven games of the season; and Furman looks to fill the hole of the quarterback who led the FCS in pass efficiency, Chris Forcier.
Sure, El Cid and the Swag are coming back with vets, but they’re El Cid and the Swag. The rest of the league will have a newer look behind center, but the offensive systems and proven talents aren’t that unstable.
At Stink and Wofford, the QB role isn’t as important in the triple option offense as in a more balanced attack. Plus both teams return their top two rushers, all four of whom were among the top 7 runners in the league last year. They should be just fine.
Furman could have some problems. The expected starter, senior Dakota Derrick, has played sparingly the past two seasons. His backup is a true freshman. Severe growing pains won’t be unexpected.
Jackson was the preseason pick for first team all-SoCon at QB. He put up some great passing numbers in his starts, but will be missing some favorite targets. There’s also the question of the App State ground game, ie. will it exist?
So maybe there could be some early concern. Could be.
A mystery man is Terrell Robinson at ‘Nooga. The 2011 freshman of the year played behind starter BJ Coleman, but managed to pass for 336 yards and six TDs and run for another 417 yards and five TDs. In just three starts.
Given those performances, it’s no surprise the Mocs are going to the spread.
When App State made that jump, the immediate results were … uh … unpleasant. But the year after that, POW! … Good times.
In summary, Jackson is the proven starter. Robinson is a wild card. Stink and Wofford should keep on keeping on. Furman is who knows. El Cid and Swag same old, same old.
And the rest? Just that.