Maybe Pryor Should Have Gone to Michigan After All?

10/9/09 in NCAAF   |   elevenbravo138again   |   1163 respect

As has been stated and will be stated endlessly developing and assessing quarterbacking talent is incredibly difficult and getting harder.  I have had the opportunity to see multiple game films of both Tate Forcier and Terrelle Pryor, both were outstanding high school players, Pryor was widely considered the nation's #1 recruit overall,  he was a good enough athlete to be unstoppable as DE/OLB on defense, a top D-I recruit as a small forward in basketball, he has been reported to have hand timed at 4.33 in the 40 which I believe to be what we'd term in the Army- 'Bravo Sierra', however he is a great athlete.

Robert Patrick 'Tate' Forcier is "6'1" in the same way that Drew Brees is "6'1" and 188, he's from a football family, his two older brothers are quarterbacks as well as his father. His oldest brother Jason played at Michigan behind Chad Henne in 2006 prior to transferring to Stanford in 2008, later finishing his graduate studies at Michigan in 2009 and he roomed with Tate.

The second youngest, Chris, currently plays for Furman University. Tate's dad played at San Diego City College and the University of San Diego.  Forcier has been groomed to be a quarterback since age four and Forcier was also given outside help, as he began working with Marv Marinovich, father of Todd, from the age of 11 until prior to his sophomore year of high school.  If you watch tape of Jeff Garcia it's striking how similar in both build and playing style the two are at the same point in their career.

The Next Matt JonesThis would seem to be a classic case of nature vs. nurture right?  The diminutive wunderkind gains early success in part due to an inundation of role models and counselors while the unbridled stallion either dominates or staggers depending on the quality of the opposition.  Or is it truly that simple?

Any young QB is going to have plenty to correct both mentally and physically, but what causes one to become Payton Manning or Ryan Leaf, one Drew Brees and the other Tony Banks?  There are hundreds of possible answers, some neuroscientists have theorized that there are clear differences in brain chemistry and architecture that predict on-field success; Jonah Lerner and Dr. A.K. Pradeep have both published findings on the subject.

There are lots of graphic and often accurate sayings about opinions and who has them, however some opinions are buttressed by more knowledge than others.  Two opinions I have long respected are  Bill Urbanik, a former college (Wake Forest) and NFL assistant (Bengals, Raiders) and NFL player-personnel official (Raiders) he said that Pryor is the most difficult type of player to project: an athletic, big-armed quarterback. That may sound like a slam dunk, but history has shown those players don't find success in college or beyond  with the same consistency as, say, a 6’4” receiver with blazing speed. "Remember a guy named Xavier Lee?"  Vince Young’s struggles are another cautionary, the spread’s spread also has kept a different kind of player a QB longer into his development.  If Pryor had gone to USC would he still be a QB?  Or a TE, WR, OLB, would he run their ‘Wild Trojan’ set?

Another writer for whom I have endless respect is Chris Brown of Smart Football who has a tremendous grasp of the game's fine points, his breakdown of the ‘Sweater Vest Spread’ Pryor helms is very well-reasoned. [Warning: for fans of The Ohio a graphic, if laser-accurate exegesis of your team's schematic deficiencies follows, not for the squeamish.] 
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