With Jeff Tuel forgoing a possible sixth year of eligibility, and attempting to take his talents to the NFL; he is leaving his former team with a little bit of a QB competition, deja vu anyone?
Now as much as you may of enjoyed seeing the constant flip flop of the QB position last year; I don’t think anybody wants to endure that again, including our beloved head coach, Mike Leach. To his defense though, neither Connor Halliday nor Jeff Tuel took the job and ran with it. It was more Connor taking it and making bad decision after bad decision or Jeff taking it and making no decisions at all.
First up we have Connor Haillday. He will be coming into spring camp as the number one QB. Halliday might have the most pure talent out of the group, and under Paul Wulff, he showed glimpses of a potential star in the making. Under Leach’s Air Raid system though, the results haven’t been quite the same.
While splitting time with Tuel last season, Halliday went on to complete 152 passes out of 291 attempts, going for 1,878 yards through the air, and throwing for 15 TDs and 13 INTs. Hardly impressive.
To be successful in Leaches system, your number one attribute better be accuracy, and number two better be intelligence of the game. Under Leach, Halliday showed little of either of those.
In order to become the number one QB heading into the Auburn game, Halliday better improve his decision making, and going through his reads. He has always been a big play QB, Leach doesn’t need that for his offense to work. He needs someone to command the offense, completing the short passes for 5 to 10 yards at a time, and he has not shown that he is capable of that.
My hope for Connor is that he spent a lot of time in the film room this off season, going over his progressions, and learning the offense. If he can show in spring that he took grasp of this offense, look for him to be leading us onto the field at Auburn.
Austin Apodaca will be Halliday’s main competition going into spring, and personally he will be my favorite to take the job. Before I get to talking about Apodaca, please go take a look at his senior year high light tape:
Now that you have been amazed lets get to breaking him down.
Apodaca, a red shirt freshman going into next season, has no game experience at the college level, making him a dark horse to start. Leach values experience, and a red shirt freshman virtually never starts for his teams. With that being said, Apodaca has shown he has the tools to run the Air Raid.
Coming out of high school Leach said Apodaca possessed one of the most accurate arms he has seen for a high school senior, dare I say it, more accurate than Connor Halliday (Sarcasm). What Apodaca also posses, are a pair of wheels. The kid can run, and with the addition of David Yost to the coaching staff, who coordinated some Mizzou teams with athletic QB’s, it wouldn’t surprise me if he favors Apodaca because of those wheels, All in all, it is tough to put a value on Apodaca because his lack of experience. While his chances of starting are slim, he will get his fair shot in the spring.
I don’t believe this will be as heated of a competition as last year. All signs point to Halliday taking this job, and hopefully keeping it. He has the tools, lets just hope he can cease the opportunity at hand, because if not, the more athletic and accurate Apodaca will gladly take the reigns.