Midseason Analysis: QB

The Hurricanes are off this week and they're seven games into the regular season. CanesTime's Mike Bakas breaks down the first half of the season, starting with the quarterback position.

Most people expected Jake Heaps to win the starting quarterback job when the coaches formally announced Brad Kaaya as the starter in late August.

While he made some quality throws against Louisville in the season opener, he didn't play a good game. Kaaya missed open receivers like Stacy Coley (a play that ended up resulting in a Louisville touchdown) and Stan Dobard (on a pass that was intercepted), seemed rattled from start to finish, and just never settled in. Kaaya finished the game with just 179 yards and one touchdown. He was picked off twice and sacked twice.

Most people expected Kaaya to bounce back and have a huge performance against Florida A&M in the home opener. It didn't happen as he threw for just 177 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.

Thanks largely to the speed and big play ability of Phillip Dorsett, Kaaya had a tremendous game against Arkansas State. He threw for 342 yards and four scores and generally looked more comfortable -- especially using his big arm to make quality throws down the field.

Kaaya followed up with a solid performance against a good Nebraska defense. He threw for 359 yards and three scores but again threw two costly interceptions.

Duke was unable to generate much pressure on him a week later and the freshman quarterback tore up the Blue Devil defense in the form of 227 yards and two scores and no turnovers.

Georgia Tech provided Kaaya a third opportunity on the road and the results were pretty much the same -- turnovers hurt. He threw for 245 yards and a score but threw two costly interceptions inside the Georgia Tech redzone.

Al Golden made it very clear after the Tech game that Kaaya absolutely had to cut down on the turnovers. And that plan seemed to work against Cincinnati, as he threw for 286 yards and three scores with no turnovers.

Through seven games this season Kaaya has completed 63-percent of his passes for 1,806 yards and 16 touchdowns. His nine interceptions are too many but he'll now have a few extra days to continue cleaning that part of his game up.

Kaaya has displayed the arm strength to make all the throws. He's gaining confidence as each week goes on. He's spreading the ball around much better but he's struggled in all three road games in terms of holding onto the ball too long and not going through his progressions. Virginia Tech will provide a tremendous challenge for him next Thursday.

Heaps has played a limited role behind Kaaya this season and has completed 5-of-10 passes for 41 yards. Ryan Williams, after missing the first six games of the season while recovering from ACL surgery back in April, saw his first action this past weekend against Cincinnati but missed his only pass attempt.

Malik Rosier is on track to redshirt.

Next story:

Complete Analysis of the Cincinnati Game


Canes Time Top Stories