Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Let's talk quarterbacks. 

First, best QBs since the TOB era, recommended order:

1. Matt Ryan
2. Paul Petersen
3. Brian St. Pierre
T4. Chris Crane/Chase Rettig/Quinton Porter
T8. Dominique Davis/Dave Shinskie
Off Radar: Mike Marscovetra/Josh Bordner/Justin Tuggle/Me (I'm pretty sure I started a game in this cluster carousel.)

Second, there are many reasons to rue the Spaz Era of mismanaged rosters, but perhaps the single most important one happened on October 2nd, 2010. That was the day that Chase Rettig earned his first official time as a NCAA football player, thus ensuring that his freshmen year would not be a red shirt, and propelling us down a path that leads us to where we are today.

Mike Marscovetra was listed, at the beginning of the season, as the 1b on the depth chart, but sometime in those first few weeks of the season - a combination of what I recall was Marsco being not that great and Shinskie being on the outs with Spaz, Rettig got the nod for his first start. 

Chase threw 10 passes, five were completed and one of them which Bobby Swigert took to the house. Then he injured his ankle, Marsco came in and threw 37 times over the remainder of the game. Two weeks later, the true freshman who started the season as second on the depth chart behind two guys (liberal arts school, folks) would pretty much get the full-time starting gig, something that's basically been his since October 16th, 2010.

We don't like giving Spaz credit for anything, especially when it's so easy to pick on him, but the reason we call this one the big mistake is that someone on that staff knew that Rettig could throw, and it didn't take that many games to get him into the rotation. Why, though, even bother with the other two - especially when Weber State and Kent State stood to be better tune-ups for the game.

The historical comparison is something that happened in Winston-Salem a few years earlier. True freshmen Riley Skinner was thrust into the QB role in 2006 when the starter was injured and I think is still their starter. He started out his first year, though, much differently than Chase. 

Here's Riley's first season:

And here's Chase's:

Something dramatically drops out (not just John Abbate's Wake defense that year) - Syracuse, Duke, Ole Miss are much better places to start your career than Notre Dame, Florida State and Maryland - and those last two were on a bum wheel. The decision to play through with Rettig in that year hurts so many things. He got freshmen experience, yes, and he has been a starter at some point during each of the last three years. But was it good experience? No.

Riley Skinner's final line at Wake:  903 for 1349 (66.9%) for 9,762 yards and a 60:37 TD/INT ratio. Chase, in his senior year, does have some tools at his disposal, but he'll never get to that level of productivity likely because of the mistake Spaz made in 2010. Through three seasons, Chase is 523 for 979, just slightly over 50 percent, with 6,258 yards and a slightly positive TD/INT ratio (35:31). His make-up and back-story is so similar to Riley, but unless he has a 400 for 350 (yes, I know that's above 100 percent), 3,000 yard season that is mistake free, he's not going to get there. 

After Matt Ryan, Riley Skinner just may be the best under-center QB of the expansion ACC area. The fact is that while some of those suggestions that Chase could get there are useless now, the first nail in the coffin was put there by Spaz three years ago. Just think of what Rettig could have done getting a fresh start in 2011, and where we would be not only this year...but next.

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