Controversy at the Stockyard?

With the emergence of Dwight Dasher, does Coach Stockstill have a quarterback controversy on his hands?

The old football cliché goes, "The most popular player on a football team is the backup quarterback". If one were to poll the Middle Tennessee fans this cliché would probably hold true. Starting quarterback Joe Craddock sustained an injury during the LSU game. Since that time backup quarterback Dwight Dasher has been given the reigns of the offense.

One has to ask if there truly is a quarterback controversy or is this just a case of the backup getting a chance to play and it happens to come against lesser competition. Here are the number comparisons.

Craddock has completed 58% of his passes (40 of 69), but has 4 interceptions. Dasher has completed 57.8% of his passes (26-45) and has yet to commit a turnover. Both quarterbacks have thrown for 3 TD's. Craddock has a 127.44 QB rating and Dasher's is at 160.23.

Craddock has 27 attempts for a net of 18 yards. Dasher is 2nd on the team in rushing. He has run 39 times for 156 yards and 2 TD's. Remember that in college football a sack counts as negative rushing yards for the quarterback.

To look at things objectively one must also take into account the competition that each quarterback has faced. Craddock's play has come against teams that are a combined 11-4. This includes Louisville, who at that time was a top 10 team, and LSU, who is now the top team in the country. Craddock also faced FAU. FAU looks to be one of the top teams in the Belt.

Dasher's play has come against of FIU and WKU. FIU owns the nation's longest losing streak. WKU is in transition from D-1AA to D-1A. Their combined record is 3-7.

When one is evaluating a quarterback they must look at not only the stats, but the intangibles as well. Both quarterbacks were proven winners in high school. Craddock led his team to at least the state semi-finals for 3 years, including a state championship. Dasher won 3 state championships while in high school.

Both quarterbacks are proven runners. This is an important quality since the Blue Raiders depth at offensive line is pretty much non-existent.

One area that may be tougher for the Blue Raider fans to gauge is how the players lead and how the rest of the team responds to that leadership. This is a category that many times only the players and coaches can evaluate.

There is no doubt that each of these players brings a lot to the table. Craddock has been waiting in the wings for several years now. He has had a chance to study the offense and he has worked with many of these same players for several years.

Dasher brings more of a play making ability. He is exciting and keeps the fans on the edge of their seats.

Many coaches will publicly say that a starter will not lose their job due to injury, but you should not believe that. A coach is going to put the players on the field who give the team the best chance to win. Obviously Coach Stockstill felt that Joe Craddock gave the Blue Raiders the best chance to win in the first 3 games. Since Craddock's injury and Dasher's emergence it is hard to tell what the coaching staff is thinking now. We do know that minus Craddock, the coaching staff feels Dasher gives the Blue Raiders the best chance to win.

There is no real time table on Craddock's return. If and when he returns it will be interesting to see how the coaching staff handles this situation. From a fan's standpoint, the good news is we have two capable quarterbacks who can get the job done. The competition at this position will only make each player better.

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