The Beginning or the End?

RaiderPower writer Mitchell Fish questions whether Graham Harrell is at the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning of his career as a Red Raider quarterback.

At the end of the game against Missouri Saturday night, I walked out of the stadium along with 50,000 plus disappointed fans. I heard cheers from some of Tech's Hockey Team (when that started, I don't know) that they were playing on Sunday and that Graham Harrell sure didn't play for them. Yet in the long walk from the Jones back to my dorm, I began to let my brain look at the game in a more withdrawn way. After letting the evenings events mull about in my head for all of Saturday night, all day Sunday, and the majority of Monday, I was able to come up with an interesting idea.

Graham Harrell is a sophomore quarterback in his first season as a starter. So far, Graham has thrown for 1901 yards and 18 touchdowns while throwing only 4 interceptions. Yet, looking past the stats, what have the 5th year seniors before Graham done in the first 6 games as a starter? BJ Symons lost a blowout road game to North Carolina State, beat Ole Miss, and tore his ACL in his first 6 starts. Sonny Cumbie lost to New Mexico, beat TCU so bad that it took them an entire season to recover, led one of the biggest comebacks in Tech history at KU, lost to Oklahoma, and then dominated a struggling Nebraska team worse than anyone in that school's storied history. Sonny was 4-2 heading into his 7th start and Cody Hodges was 6-0 heading into his 7th start. Sonny played with a good offense and a decent defense and Cody was the only Leach quarterback to play with a defense that had some fire and fight.

Yet what do all of the players that started before Graham have in common? They were all 5th year seniors starting their only season and playing it that way. They made their mistakes but they would never get to learn from them, they were forced to play past their mistakes and just hope they didn't happen again. Graham, on the other hand, will have the opportunity to learn from these mistakes. He doesn't graduate this year, he isn't going from being the big fish in a little pond to a little fish in a big pond, and he isn't going to become a player that everyone wants the NCAA to give another year of eligibility. Instead, he will be practicing, watching film, and developing a relationship and rapport with the newest group of Tech receivers as opposed to hoping and praying that he was going to catch on with an NFL team.

As a die-hard Tech fan, one who bleeds Scarlet and Black, it is as difficult for me as it as for anyone to watch Graham struggle and flounder on occasion. Still, I recognize one thing about the man who wears #6. He has the potential to be a very dangerous and feared quarterback, who may become one of the best quarterbacks to ever put on the double T. There is still time for his redemption to come. So back to my earlier question, is this "The Beginning of The End or The End of The Beginning"? Quite frankly, I am inclined to think that it is the latter, and before too long, it may become the "Beginning of The Best."

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