Thinking about the Bearcats offense for the last 5 seasons there is a clear unbroken line in terms of who the play maker is for the Bearcats. In 2007 it was Dominick Goodman. In 2008 Goodman retained the title but Mardy Gilyard emerged. In 2009 Gilyard took the belt as Armon Binns emerged. In 2010 Binns took the belt for himself as Isaiah Pead came into his own. Last year Isaiah Pead took over the role as play maker in chief and the results were impressive. If anything they were too impressive. The brilliance of iPead eclipsed the performance of his teammates to the point where, for the first time since the 2007 pre season no one really has any idea who will step up and make big plays for this team. If there is a big weakness for this offense this year I would place a strong wager in it being a general lack of play-making. Unless a team has a defense of the caliber of an LSU, Alabama or Virginia Tech it is damn near impossible to play winning Football grinding out 10 to 15 play drives. Unfortunately UC is not blessed with such a defense, that makes the search for big plays an important one.
The attribute that Mike Bajakian and Co. have to be on the lookout for is the ability to generate big plays. This staff is not shy about much, and they showed at Central Michigan that they are willing to get exotic with their looks to generate big plays from scrimmage. But before that they need guys they can trust to emerge. I have some candidates in mind.
Chris Moore. The man in the slot in this offense is always going to get a ton of looks and that could very well be Moore. He is just a redshirt Freshman but he was deeply impressive in camp a year ago before being sidelined and shutdown for the season during camp. The 4th Wide Receiver spot in this offense is up for grabs and it is tailor made for a guy like Moore with his ability to defeat intermediate coverage, be it man or zone.
Anthony McClung. McClung is the leading returning receiver yes, but he was dogged by inconsistency all year long. He finally put it all together in the UConn game where he turned in one of just three 100 yard games by a Bearcat wideout. McClung is one of the fastest players on the team and has potential to take over the role. But the inconsistency is still a big concern.
Ralph Abernathy IV. If I have to guess who becomes the go to weapon of choice for Mike Bajakian this year it would be Quatro. For a start he is going to get a ton of touches and more than likely generate a ton of big plays in special teams but besides that Abernathy is the kind of player where it is easy to get him touches. He can play in the slot, and in the backfield and he is a threat as a receiver. Plus there are a lot of really simple ways to get him touches in space from the jetsweep to the speed option. And to top it all off these things are all in the playbook already, they just aren't used that often. Butch Jones is likely to give a ton of guys looks in camp to provide that spark that this offense will almost certainly need. But Quatro is the only guy who seems equal to the task.