Time to Talk QBs

The N&O is running a nice profile on Pack QB Harrison Beck. Here’s an excerpt:

The Pack will hold its first preseason scrimmage today, and O’Brien said his three quarterbacks — Beck, Daniel Evans and Justin Burke — will get an equal amount of snaps. O’Brien would like to settle on a starter as quickly as possible but also said, “You want to make the right decision, not a fast decision.”

Evans is the returning starter and Burke, who starred at Lexington (Ky.) Catholic High, was recruited by O’Brien’s staff at BC. But it is Beck, who sat out last year as a transfer, who appears to intrigue so many Wolfpack fans.

The sophomore has the big arm. He was a big recruiting target in 2004 at Countryside High in Clearwater, Fla. — rated the No. 3 pro-style quarterback by one recruiting service — and made an early commitment to Nebraska, turning down offers from Florida, Michigan, NCSU and others.

“I can throw a football, obviously,” Beck said. “I can throw it all over the field.”

You’ve got to like that confidence. But Marcus Stone was a confident QB, too.

In a sense, Beck was the forgotten man last year, as fans debated the potential of the highly-touted true freshman Justin Burke and the level-headness and grit of the barely-recruited Daniel Evans. However, my gut tells me that Beck might be the best fit for our offense in 2007. My theory is simple (and by no means foolproof) – Beck’s big arm gives us the best chance to keep teams from stacking 8 or 9 in the box. Even the best backfield in college football (and the Brown/Baker combo has to be in that conversation) has trouble running against a 9-man front – especially behind a somewhat suspect OL. Trestman’s offense called for more short, precision passes (suited more for Evans’ arm) – but it’s an open question whether Evans can keep defenses honest in Bible’s system. However, as the N&O points out:

Beck, like Evans and Burke, is aware that O’Brien isn’t looking for the strongest arm. O’Brien wants his quarterback to make wise decisions, the right throws.

I think Coach O’Brien will wait and see how much Beck’s decision making progresses between now and September. He knows what he has in Daniel Evans. The job is not really Beck’s to lose, but it seems there for the taking. A 7-8 win season requires almost everything to fall the Pack’s way – and probably the “complete package” at QB.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

'07 Football General NCS Football Tom O'Brien

69 Responses to Time to Talk QBs

  1. graywolf 08/08/2007 at 5:40 PM #

    My big worry is still the weakness at OL. We are not 2 deep here and one injury could be disasterous. Even the best QB is not very effective if he is running for his life and a running back cannot run effectively if there is no hole to run through.

  2. Sw0rdf1sh 08/08/2007 at 5:51 PM #

    I wasn’t a spring practice and every situation can be different….but his numbers were pitiful.

    I read that N&O article but can’t remember the exact numbers without looking it up again….but something like 7-26 is absolutely rough. Not to mention a 100 yd interception return for TD.

    I do feel great about his arm, but I’m not going to get excited about this article. I read something about Burke not too long ago that said he might really be our QB at some point this year.

    Who knows, I haven’t been able to see any of them toss the ball around yet. Hope to before 9/1 though!

  3. Sw0rdf1sh 08/08/2007 at 5:51 PM #

    I wasn’t a spring practice and every situation can be different….but his numbers were pitiful.

    I read that N&O article but can’t remember the exact numbers without looking it up again….but something like 7-26 is absolutely rough. Not to mention a 100 yd interception return for TD.

    I do feel great about his arm, but I’m not going to get excited about this article. I read something about Burke not too long ago that said he might really be our QB at some point this year.

    Who knows, I haven’t been able to see any of them toss the ball around yet. Hope to before 9/1 though!

  4. Big Worm 08/08/2007 at 6:22 PM #

    “Beck’s big arm gives us the best chance to keep teams from stacking 8 or 9 in the box.” I thought the exact same thing about Stone last year. “Just the threat of him unloading one should be enough to make the defense think twice about stacking the box,” I would tell myself. We saw how that worked out.

    You have absolutely got to have the ability to read defenses quickly and react appropriately if you’re going to be a good college QB. Stone couldn’t do that. He’d run at the first sign of pressure. And although the sample size of Beck’s public performances is excruciatingly small – basically the Spring game – he didn’t show anything that would indicate that he’s got the ability to read and react that separates really good high school QB’s that flame out from those that go on to become good college QB’s. What Beck did show in the spring game was exactly what he alluded to in the N&O article – that he’s impatient, and if he doesn’t get the chance to unload several balls down the field each game in the context of the offense he’ll do it anyway. That’s not a good thing.

    QB’s with imposing physical gifts are scary. If you’re always simply the best athlete on the field growing up, and can outrun the entire defense or flick it 60 yards with minimal effort, what’s the impetus for you to be a student of the game? Quarterbacks Stone, and Chris Rix, and Brent Shaeffer, and Mike Vick never had to learn the nuances of the game the way QB’s that couldn’t get by on their athleticism alone had to.

    P-Riv grew into an NFL QB’s body and had leadership abilities that were beyond reproach, but was also encouraged to learn everything he could about reading defenses because of his lack of otherworldly physical gifts – he knew he could never make a living outrunning the defense. I think that’s actually a good thing.

    Evans is a student of the game and has the respect of the team but has physical tools that border on inadequate for BCS college football. Beck seems to me to be a strong arm and not much else. Burke seems to be a reasonable mix of both, but he’s green as can be.

    In the balance of things, I anticipate Evans’ experience and poise winning out over the things Burke and the Beck bring to the table. And I’m confident with improved OL and RB play, we can play winning football with Dan Evans at QB.

  5. kool k 08/08/2007 at 6:36 PM #

    I’m glad to see that Stone was voted one of the captains.

  6. RochesterRedWolf 08/08/2007 at 7:02 PM #

    I always think about last year and the QB change…the excitement of Evans coming in last exactly for what it was worth, two games. I almost don’t think it matters who is back there as long as you’ve got sucky coaches, well except for PR.

    Amato at that point last year knew his job was on the line and he cracked. He had to change though because he and whoever else obviously hadn’t taught the QB or the OLine anything meaningful. I remember two years ago when State played Miami in Raleigh, the one where Devin Hester ran it all the way back on the opening kickoff, if you go back to that game, J.Davis pretty much picked apart the Hurricanes all night. He did the same thing to the tarheels in Kenan. He actually was a good qb, made bad decisions every now and then of course but who doesn’t. I am more excited this year to see the difference between a real coach and a career assistant.

    Darrell Blackman had alot of interesting things to say about how basically Amato and his staff really didn’t know how to design an offense for Marcus Stone, so i am wondering if Blackman is alluding to that he thinks Stone is actually a really good QB?

    Nice Analysis Big Worm

  7. ncsu_kappa 08/08/2007 at 7:27 PM #

    RochesterRedWolf, I couldn’t agree with you more. The only thing that got Chuck Amato fired was his QB play. That very same Miami game that you are referring to, TA was running rampant and fumbling in HUGE holes in the defensive line. I’ve been to games and seen Jay Davis just not throw it to open people downfield b/c he was hesitant and then try to go to his dump off guy at the last second which led to his picks. Stone had the same problem. Jay more accurate than Stone but both are pretty good in the absence of a defense. With a defense present they couldn’t read and react the way a college QB needs to. Amato didn’t crack. There’s not much you can do with a one dimensional offense in the ACC. Look at FSU. They have been billed as having a top 5 O-line the last two seasons and look at what it amounts to without a signal caller.

    If you don’t blame last two years on the QB’s only blame the Coaches for recruiting them. How many interceptions can you blame the coach for? Jay Davis, Stone, and Evans are probably some of the hardest workers on the team and great people like Mother Theresa. Just not quite cut out to be college qb’s. If we look at performance on the field all of the pieces have been there except one. I just hope between Glennon, Burke, Beck and Evans we get the situation figured out and soon. If not, you guys will be calling for O’Brien’s head the same way you did Amato’s.

  8. JimValvano 08/08/2007 at 8:09 PM #

    First of all Amato didn’t crack…he tried his damnedest to throw another quarterback under the bus. First he replaced Jay Davis with Stone and won some ballgames. This made it look like it was a quarterback problem. Last year we were losing again and he did the same thing.

    I hate to break it to everyone but Jay Davis didn’t have a big arm. In the meantime all we did was throw outs to the sideline and watch Clemson run them back for TD’s. The play calling wasn’t to the strengths of the players. Then last year we went to the dink and dunk that we should’ve used with Davis, but it was a year too late and with the wrong quarterback. Stone had the arm to throw the outs and downfield…instead we dropped off to the tightend. The defense could then load up almost everyone in the box and know that none of our routes exceeded 15 yards.

    The coaching sucked. I don’t know about the quarterbacks…maybe they did too, but we’ll never know because most intelligent coordinators will try to work to their team’s strengths…Trestman…well…I guess he was the one who couldn’t read a defense or think on the run.

  9. JimValvano 08/08/2007 at 8:14 PM #

    Oh…and Evans has a big enough arm. He flung that ball pretty well against BC and FSU last year when we needed it.

    The NFL said Philip Rivers didn’t have the greatest arm strength either, but we all knew that nobody runs a play where you really have to heave the ball 75 yards downfield.

    My vote goes with what I know…not what I don’t know. I hope Evans wins the job because I know he’s not stupid. He doesn’t make mistakes till we put him in a situation with less than 2 minutes to go and we need a play. That’s when he takes his chances…he manages a ballgame and with our skill players…I think he will end up working out quite nicely.

  10. RochesterRedWolf 08/08/2007 at 9:24 PM #

    ncsu_kappa, please don’t remind me about TA running thru huge holes and fumbling. it just brings up bitter memories of that game in Chapel Hole two years ago where TA ran thru and over the ‘Hole defense. Then the damn fumbles! Ughhhh. I have never been to a game where the home crowd was so taken out of it, not too hard for ‘Hole fans anyway, even though we were behind everyone and his uncle knew state was gonna win that game, and the last two plays…hold on while i vomit.

  11. redfred2 08/08/2007 at 9:36 PM #

    Good stuff here guys. Nice analysis from Bigworm.

    Amato/Trestman were Herb/Sendek, as JimValvano just pointed out. None of them had a clue as to how to maximize the talent that they had. As for the QB position this season, I’d love nothing more than to see an intelligent and cool Daniel Evans step in and take control. But either way, there are other options available now, and the one thing I don’t want to see again is stagnation, and the unwillingness to experiment if necessary.

  12. highstick 08/08/2007 at 10:00 PM #

    even though we were behind everyone and his uncle knew state was gonna win that game, and the last two plays…hold on while i vomit.

    I came close to swearing off football altogether that night and it’s going to take a while for me to return to another State-Carolina game in Kenan. After the game, I stuck my “after-game” quality cigar in my mouth and was standing there reflecting on the BS that had just happened when a Tarhole idiot comes up and tells me that I can’t smoke in his stadium! Dang, the thing wasn’t even lit!

    I’m going to venture there in October and hope Spurrier lays a butt kicking on those wimps!

    Saw the State football preview on Sportsouth? I’m impressed with the coach so far. Just hope he can get the team to produce~

  13. VaWolf82 08/08/2007 at 10:30 PM #

    I simply can’t separate the blame for State’s woeful offense between coaching, O-Line, and QB……and I don’t believe anyone that claims that they can. It’s been trendy for many State fans to downplay the importance of having an effective QB….prefering to shift the blame to the O-line and/or coaching. I neither understand nor agree with this line of reasoning.

    State will not make a bowl game if the QB isn’t capable of leading an effective passing game. As BJD points out, State simply cannot line up and run over enough teams to have a successful season.

  14. Mr O 08/08/2007 at 10:34 PM #

    I can’t see anyone but Evans starting the first game. Big arm doesn’t equal good college QB.

  15. JimValvano 08/08/2007 at 10:53 PM #

    It looks like Evans is the one to me…

    “Three quarter backs – Daniel Evans, Justin Burke and Harrison Beck – took turns rotating with the first and second string during the scrimmage as Evans and Beck both tossed touchdowns passes. Evans went 7-of-10 for 61 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown to Toney Baker. Beck tossed a 25-yard touchdown to Matt Kushner and completed 3-of-6 attempts for 54 yards, including an interception. Burke was 3-of-7 for 23 yards and a pair of interceptions.”


    at least for the first couple of games. It appears that it is becoming his job to lose, instead of his job to win.

  16. sf59 08/08/2007 at 11:00 PM #

    A big arm has nothing to do with keeping the d honest. Decisions, timing, precision, and placement are way more important at almost all levels of football.

  17. choppack1 08/08/2007 at 11:12 PM #

    ….but something like 7-26 is absolutely rough. Not to mention a 100 yd interception return for TD

    Well, those #s are better than his Nebraska #s. He does have a good arm, but so do a lot of guys suiting up all over the place on the football field. QBs need to be able to make good decisions. Presonally, I think this staff – w/ their simple offense – no more arm bands, probably only 1/2 to 2/3 of the plays of the previous regime. will allow our QBs to look better.

    As for the previous staff – the blame has to fall on them. We had 3 years where QBs didn’t produce. Worse yet -each QB seemed to start off OK, then gradually get worse…that’s about as damning an indictment as you can ever give a coaching staff.

  18. RochesterRedWolf 08/09/2007 at 2:13 AM #

    VaWolf I am not sure what you mean…I certainly think that you have to have a good QB, but all of that is relative.

    A guy can be good, but if he’s running for his life on every play or the coaches don’t know how to develop QB’s he’s going to look bad.

    You can have a good coach or a good line make a mediocre dude, look awesome. If a guy has an extra second or two to throw it (and we all know that what makes cornerbacks and safeties look like NFL talent is when you’ve got a good DLine rush) then he can find a receiver open after he gets by the initial D of a CB, or finds the seem in the zone, etc.

    So how do u know a QB is actually good? Is Matt Ryan at BC good because he’s good or because he has a really good OLine and coaches who taught him all the fundamentals?

    It’s like TOB said to the media today, of all the interceptions or TD passes was it poor defense, good defense, bad read by the QB, good etc?

    However, it looks to me like Evans is so far on track.

  19. bTHEredterror 08/09/2007 at 2:41 AM #

    Valid points on Beck, he sounds like a gunslinger. Whichever QB they go with has to make some plays with his feet, as the O-line obviously lacks proven depth. Granted the OL last year was suspect, but I am expecting line play to improve under TOB for obvious reasons, but it always takes some game experience for a line to find their groove. If Beck has some mobility and a quick release to go with his big arm, then I’d go with him. Just hope whoever it is willing to make plays on the run a fair amount because in likelihood he will have to. I can always appreciate a gunslinger. Gimme a QB with some moxie, knowing full well there will be some mistakes to go along with the big plays. The thing with a gunslinger is though, you never know if you’re gonna get Favre or Steve Tanneyhill. Even with experience considered, I expect Beck will get the first crack at it, unless one of the others outshine him. I’d go with one of the younger QBs if at all possible (meaning if all things are equal) just to solidify my program, it might yield the option to RS Glennon or provide another experienced backup if he’s too good to RS.

    But based on the facts highlighted in one of the recent SFN posts I read, on offensive efficiency (or lack thereof), I expect a scientific coach to be aware of that amongst many things, and to take the QB with the lowest mistake percentage. I’m betting it is the only stat he cares about in practice at this point, so anyone taking reps has a legit shot.

    Don’t buy into all the prognostications, they’re wrong more often than not

  20. packpigskinfan23 08/09/2007 at 4:56 AM #

    Evans is the man to start off with…

    it is his job to lose, or someone elses to gain.

    If someone proves themselves more worthy then Evans I will be glad(as he isnt a BCS caliber QB), but I will also be happy to support Evans through the year.

  21. waxhaw 08/09/2007 at 6:58 AM #

    Part of the reason our OL sucked is we whiffed big time on the OL coach from Tennessee.

    IMO our QB situation was unlucky. We had a guy in Stone that was highly ranked and had some decent offers. He just didn’t pan out. We missed on BS at the last minute too. How many guys could we have had in the wings ready to go had Rivers not been our QB?

    I do agree with the coaching. There were 57,000 people that could see that Jay Davis couldn’t throw a deep out. Unfortunately, the coaches weren’t one of those.

    All three definitely contributed to our lack of offesnive production. I’d probably rank it as QB, coaching, and OL in that order. Although, you could make the argument that a big part of our QB play was coaching in the play calling, evaluation, whatever.

  22. BJD95 08/09/2007 at 8:31 AM #

    We know Evans won’t “lose” the job – his baseline is well established. Beck has to show he has enough poise and QB mind to take it from him. It’s an open question whether he will or not.

  23. PamlicoPack 08/09/2007 at 9:28 AM #

    “Burke was 3-of-7 for 23 yards and a pair of interceptions.” I guess we can be fairly certain it is down to Evans and Beck. That is a horrible line. I remember hearing all sorts of good things about Burke last year…has he cracked under the pressure?

  24. SCpackfan 08/09/2007 at 9:46 AM #

    Let’s not forget, that daniel evens got a concussion in the wake forest game and played on. He was a completely different QB after that concussion. This also happened to Jamie Barnette a few years ago. Coming off a concussion early in his senior year barnette was awful. He a torry holt had some kind of special bond but I believe a concussion rattles a quarterback more than any other position. I mean the interception at the end of the wake game last year should have told the coaching staff somethign, but I geniuwinely believe that they (the coaches) did not participate in the game. Trestman never made any adjustments during the course of the game and that hurts a qb b/c it doens’t give him a chance. that being said, I believe that evans will start the year, beck will get his chance and blow it and that will leave burke as our starting QB for the rest of the season. It doesn’t matter though b/c that glennon kid is going to start for us for a while.


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