When I think of Connor Halliday, I always think excitement, risk-taking, potential, and a solid quarterback. So far this season Halliday is 96-176 on pass attempts and has thrown for 1203 yards and 9 touchdowns. Since taking over the role for Jeff Tuel in week 3 of the season, the Cougars are 1-2 but showing signs of improvement. Halliday’s had his struggles this season, but remember that he’s only a redshirt sophomore and hasn’t even played at full season as a starting quarterback. If I were Coach Mike Leach, I would stick with Halliday because he’s the quarterback that gives the Cougars the best chance at winning. Halliday fits the Air-Raid offense perfectly and can manage to throw the ball sixty times with accuracy and speed. He isn’t the fastest quarterback and has trouble avoiding the rush but has good pocket awareness. He’s getting better each week at reading defenses and making adjustments at the line. You can point to Halliday for some of the Cougars struggles on offense, but what about the other ten guys on the field. Receivers and running backs have constantly been dropping easy passes that could have resulted in big gains or even touchdowns. What about the offensive line? Against Oregon, Halliday could barely walk because of how many times the Oregon defense put him on his back. The offensive line needs to protect their quarterback and also stop committing silly penalties such as offsides and holding. Imagine what Halliday could do with a couple more seconds in the pocket, there would definitely be more big plays made.
Still Halliday is only a redshirt sophomore with little experience and is still adjusting and learning the game of Pac-12 football. “I got to be able to go through my reads and check downs better when I’m under pressure,” Halliday said in a press conference after the Oregon game on Saturday. Right now I give him a B+ for his performance this year because he has done some great things, but has also made some questionable decisions. The throw he made against Oregon in the 2nd half that went for a “pick 6″ was a mistake Halliday admits was his fault. “It was a good read, I just under threw the ball.” Halliday said.
We know Halliday’s performance will continue to develop and get better, but after watching his press conference, it seems Halliday has complete control of the huddle and is a leader. “We got to be able to grow up,” Halliday said. “We have to battle through it and not quit.” Only a sophomore and already telling his teammates who some are upperclassmen to do their job right, shows how competitive the quarterback is and how bad he wants to win. Mike Leach should start planning for the future and continue get Halliday some more experience which he can build off for next season. He has the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks Leach has ever coached.
Here’s Connor Halliday in a Press Conference after the Oregon game on Saturday:
-Evan Baron (Follow me on twitter @BaselineBaron09)