I find this juxtaposition of comments about how the coaching staff went about its decision making at the starting quarterback spot revealing. Here’s what Jim Chaney had to say about the thinking going into the season:
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said he wouldn’t classify the separation between Eason (the starter) and Fromm (the backup) as “significant” at the conclusion of fall camp, but “it was such that we didn’t feel comfortable in the other direction (Fromm) at the beginning of the Appalachian State game.”
Obviously, Plan A had to be crumpled into a tiny ball and tossed into the nearest trash can after Eason’s injury in the opener, but what about after the preseason choice to start returned to full health?
“I don’t think there was ever a premeditated moment,” Chaney said, speaking to the media for the first time since August at the L.A. Hotel Downtown. “We went out, Jacob wasn’t healthy yet, and we beat Notre Dame. We came back home and won another ball game (against Samford). You could see us starting to click and the ball starting to move down the field with relative ease. It was a good formula at that time. We never predetermined anything but you couldn’t make that change at the time, when Jacob got healthy. It wouldn’t have been the right thing at the time.”
It’s conservative, and I don’t mean that in a negative sense. Clearly, they had some clue that the offense was going to get more traction out of the offensive line and running game than it did in 2016, and that meant looking for the quarterback who would do the least harm to the orientation of the game plan. Experience won out, but then Fromm showed he could handle the game plan at least as well as what they’d expected from Eason… plus, there was all that winning. You just don’t screw with what’s working.