T.J. Yates Named Starter at QB…

…for the James Madison game.  It is interesting how that little caveat has been attached.  Butch Davis has named Yates to start on September 1st but beyond that it could change.  The Tar Heel coach as quoted at Inside Carolina:

Just because you have earned the opportunity to be the starter now, doesn’t mean that it’s etched in stone [or] that it will stay that way forever. That we expect you to continue to grow, to study, to learn – your performance, your mechanics, your technique, the execution of the offense, the grasp of the offense…If you ever hit a plateau and think that you’ve arrived and that you’re as good as you’re going to get, be careful because there is going to be people chasing you down, trying to get that opportunity…

I also shared with them – which I truly, firmly believe – I think that we will clearly play certainly more than one quarterback during the course of the season, that there’s a opportunity for a second quarterback to play at times [and] there’s a possibility that a third quarterback might get an opportunity to play at some point during the course of the season…

As much as we all are skittish about a possible QB carousel, I can think of several reasons why Davis is leaving the door ajar.  First off, it is obvious there is very little that separates Yates, Cam Sexton and Mike Paulus.  By leaving the door open and saying that essentially playing time is up for grabs, it will keep the motivation running for all three.  It is also important to remember that all three are exceptionally young and have the bulk of their college eligibility ahead of them.  As much as the media and the fans focus on the season at hand, Butch Davis is tasked with building a winning football program.  Obviously the present season has value but as I have pointed out before I am convinced this season is less about winning and more about developing certain aspects of the program.  If Davis can accelerate the development of all three QBs, give them all experience and in the process establish one of them as a bona fide starter going forward then the program will be better down the road even if it is a little inconsistent now.   Aside from all of that, the one noticeable different between the way Davis is approaching the potential use of multiple QBs versus what happened last season is Davis seems to be shooting for putting the best QB on the field.  Because there the candidates are fairly close in skill level the potential this will change is greater.  Last season QB changes were haphazard and reactionary in nature based on one QB throwing two INTs or something of that nature.  Only game situations will tell us how Davis will make such decisions but based on the way he arrived at the present choice and his willingness to keep the door open for the others to improve, it would appear Davis will be just as deliberate with a QB change as he has been with the first choice.

As was the case with other aspects of Davis’ coaching style, the way the QBs are being handled illustrates an attention to a variety of facets pertaining to the development of the players, the team and the program.  If maintaining the QB competition in some form can keep the players in question motivated, aid in their development and provide them with experience the program will reap huge benefits from that 1-2 years down the road even if this season is a little rough.   At some point one of these guys is going to truly move well ahead of the others and step up to be a quality QB.  If that happens whether it be now or next season, the process will be well worth it.

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2 Responses to T.J. Yates Named Starter at QB…

  1. […] August 17, 2007 at 8:49 am | In Jackie Manuel | T.J. wins starting job for JMU. THF with brief analysis. David Glenn with 5 questions. Memphis the early […]

  2. Kevin says:

    I had hoped maybe Paulus would be a Phillip Rivers type QB who is so extraordinary that he simply has to be played from the start. If he is the QB of the future I would rather see him red shirt than be thrown to the wolves as Ronald Curry was in the hopes of some modest short term gains.

    My highest expectation for this year is mediocre simply because of the holes that need filling. With recruiting going well the talent level will rise and thinking a year or two down the road is the wisest choice in my opinion.

    If I’m wrong and we rock this year great, but being realistic is smarter in the long run.

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