I was asked to elaborate on a recent comment thread about dual threat QBs not seeming to get a true shot at Mizzou and instead trying to force round pegs (guys with significant dual threat talent) into square slots as pocket passers.
The post went longer than I first anticipated. And I thought it might make a good fan post and potential discussion.
And here it is ...
(On a side note before getting started: I would argue that Matt Mauk was greatly misused and should have been far more of a dual threat QB than he was used / schemed for. He had some amazing scrambles but hardly ever ran real read-options. Had he done that, our offense would have been night and day better)
Here's going back 10 years with Mizzou Dual Threat QBs:
Trent Hosick - kid was tough as nails and super fun DT QB to watch. Made some big plays in scrimmages and spring game but it was clear he wasn't going to get a shot and bounced.
Marvin Zanders - seemed to have some potential and made a few big plays with his feet when in
Micah Wilson - HS track star and DT QB, stayed but moved to WR
Lindsay Scott Jr - top JUCO DT QB and former LSU commit who transferred out after not seeming to get a legit chance in the QB competition and went on to quite a bit of success at the FCS level and played in FCS Semifinal Championship game
Connor Bazelak - was an old-school option QB in high school. Obviously his injuries probably largely dictated that he wasn't used as a dual threat (though I doubt he would have been even if healthy) and he didn't have the arm or head to be a pocket QB
Shawn Robinson - DT QB who lost his job mid-game in game 1, moved to safety, and then transferred
Kelly Bryant - Clemson star DT QB (and great kid) who we inexplicably promised and tried convert to a pocket QB to supposedly boost his draft stock under Derek Dooley. Experiment failed miserably as he stared down open WRs and couldn't pull the trigger throughout the season. Finally got so banged up that he couldn't run when it was apparent that the pocket QB experiment was a bust.
Tyler Macon - Nike Elite 11 QB with lots of talent. Clearly needed an adjusted scheme to showcase his leg and true dual threat talent. Not sure the details, obviously, of how things went down behind the scenes, but it seems safe to say that either he and/or coaches didn't think he was a fit to develop as a dual threat QB and get a legit shot to play.
Honestly, I don't know why we even recruit DT QBs if we're not going to actually develop them and develop a scheme that they can thrive in. And I don't know why DT QBs would even come to Mizzou with our track record. Hopefully, the trend is ending and Gabarri Johnson has some kind of scheme that fits his skills and he gets a legit shot to run the offense.
(I know the conventional wisdom is that you can't have 2 QBs. But I think the coaches need to figure out a way to run two QBs - especially if there are of 2 different styles. To let Horn and Johnson duke it out on the field for a few games - or even a whole season - and let the hot hand play seems like a formula that could work to see who the gamers are. I'm sure it would be a little tricky for the OL, but I think it would be FAR trickier for defenses to contend with and would be worth the effort).
I understand wanting to protect and not bang up your QB - especially in the SEC. But going back to Pinkle, we've largely refused to even run an actual read-option. Instead, we've largely read a 'pretend read-option' where we hand off to the RB even if that means he runs into a wall of D linemen and the QB could have pulled it and ran in the open green turf for a first down.
Finally, when Hamdan took over this year, he was actually running Cook appropriately and running an actual read-option far more regularly and everything was DRAMATICALLY better.
Why is this hard for multi-millionaire head coaches and OCs to understand?
Finally, we got a DC that understands how to run a great Mizzou / college defense: stop the run and pin your ears back and pressure the QB and make him beat you with perfect throws under duress.
Now hopefully we have an OC that understands how to actually use a DT QB and make defenses stay home or pay because we run an actual read option. It seems clear to me that teams who get this have dramatically better results at the college level. It also naturally opens up the run game. And those who try to make pocket QBs out of the vast majority of college QBs fail. Most college QBs can't read, let alone have the arm talent to pick apart a complex SEC defense run by multimillionaire chess master DCs.
And if this is the case, you have to shift to something that works. We saw in the UGA game what a mobile Cook could do against the biggest, baddest team in all the land. I'm not sure why it took so long to figure out.
I'll also point to Stoops at UK running a wide receiver at QB to great success. And Drinkwitz should know this from being a Gus Malzahn tree guy. Malzahn's best offense ever was when he converted a WR to true dual threat (actually a triple option threat) QB.
Bottom line: Craft the offense to the QBs you have. And the vast majority of college QBs aren't and can't become true pocket passers. Even the NFL is learning this lesson.