A little over six weeks have passed since Brandon Mills, Travis Kelce and Nick Temple secured win number 10 against Duke in the Belk Bowl. Spring Football is just around the corner (March 5th). So what better time than now to take a look back at the 2012 season starting with, shock of shocks, the Quarterbacks.
The 2012 season has much in common with the 2011 season. This is basic narrative for the 2011 season; hot start (7-1 through the first week of November), two straight losses, followed by a three game winning streak to end the season and get to 10 wins. The simple story of the 2012 season is basically the same; hot start (5-0 to start the year), slump, 2-3 over the next 5, three game winning streak to end the season.
The story of the QB play is much of the same. Zach Collaros and Munchie Leguax both played fine to start their respective seasons, but nothing about either was all that spectacular. Both wound up being sidelined, Collaros for his ghastly injury; Munchie for having his mistakes go from being bearable to unbearable during a long October that saw him barely complete 50 per cent of his passes and make, arguably, game deciding decisions in losses to Toledo and Louisville, both games that were eminently winnable.
Where the comparisons between 2011 and 2012 break down is with the performance of Brendon Kay. In 2011 Munchie did enough to keep the ship afloat, but that is really all he did. He brought a more dynamic aspect to the running game. But running the quarterback is something that largely fell by the wayside over the three years of the Butch Jones/Mike Bajakian era.
Kay on the other hand brought a dynamic feel to an offense that had seemed to go stale in 2012. There is a conceivable argument to be made that the offensive scheme of the Bearcats was limited by the holes in Munchie's game. It is certainly true that Munchie had limitations, but it seems to me that the offense was basic and spartan because Mike Bajakian is spartan.
That no frills approach was clearly visible in the play of Munchie Legaux last season, it was equally clear that it was not to the benefit of Legaux. It was almost possible to see Munchie fighting his instincts on every play so that he could work through his progressions. The natural inclination for a QB like Munchie is to run. Find the first read, if he is open throw, if he is not, run. That is how he played for Edna Karr in New Orleans, and he could have got away with it this year as well. He is a good enough athlete to make that work at this level. As the season wore on (and teams got more film on him) the most obvious flaw in Munchie's game reared its head, he is not decisive in his decision making.
In retrospect that is the biggest difference between Brendon Kay and Munchie. Pardon my french, but Kay doesn't fuck around. He makes quick decisions and lives with the results, which was always going to be a bridge too far Munchie. Nothing illustrated that more than the Duke game. Not only did Kay throw for 300 + yards, with nearly 70 per cent completion rate. But he ran for 76 more, and all but one of his 7 runs were scrambles where Duke went man and the receivers cleared acres of space and free yardage which Kay gladly accepted time and again. In the same situation Munchie would sit in the pocket and try to force the ball down field rather than taking the free yardage.
I was a steadfast supporter of Munchie Legaux until he was benched. I don't think it's unfathomable for a guy with his athletic ability to become a good quarterback at the college level. But the one thing I overlooked was his demonstrated reluctance make decisive decisions. He who hesitates is lost, and Brendon Kay did not hesitate, and that's why he saved the season for the Bearcats.