Peyton Manning/Troy Aikman or Rick Mirer/Ryan Leaf

After the game on Saturday I was, as we all were, pretty despondent. I didn't see many bright spots, as we didn't look real good on offense and surprisingly, the defense was sliced to ribbons. About the only thing I came away happy about was that the Beavers battled back when they were down and didn't give up, continuing to claw their way back into it and make a game of it.

From my seat in Reser it appeared that we had gone away from the run after a few plays that went nowhere and depended on the passing game to win this one for us. As we all know, the passing game didn't win this one for us. As I sat down last night to watch the replay on television, I saw some things in Derek Anderson's play that, from the angle of my vantage point at the goal line, I didn't see as well on Saturday.

First off, I saw that Derek does not look comfortable back there in any way, shape or form. His feet are constantly moving, more than likely a result of the pounding he took against USC. He is not standing in there, planting his feet and delivering the ball accurately. Almost all of his throws against UCLA were behind his intended receiver and a couple of his throws were well short. The best pass he threw the entire day was a touchdown pass to James Newson, while on a dead run to his left. I believe that that was such a nice throw because Derek didn't have time to think about it. He just got rid of the ball.

With the departure of Jared Jones and the chronically injured shoulder of Shayne House, Coach Erickson had no choice but to give the reigns of the offense to the inexperienced Anderson. There is nothing anybody can do about that at this point, this is Derek's team win or lose.

But it does make me wonder how he will fare in the long run. In the NFL, most coaches will try to bring a quarterback along slowly and give him a chance to mature some before turning over the offense to them. There have been some that had the starting duties thrust upon them in their rookie year though and just about to a man, all struggled that initial year. It was in their second and third seasons where they showed whether or not it was wise to shoulder them with that much responsibility early on.

Guys like Peyton Manning and Troy Aikman struggled in their first seasons, but learned from the experience and became great NFL quarterbacks. Conversely, guys like Rick Mirer and Ryan Leaf imploded and never realized the potential that they brought with them to the NFL. It takes a tremendous amount of confidence to play quarterback and when that confidence is lost, bad things happen. Derek needs to have a big game and soon, to help him to settle down and regain some of the confidence he showed in the OOC season. Will he do it? I think so. The question is when.

I'm hoping for Saturday in Tempe.

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