Okay, I know some of y’all have been jonesing to have a certain debate here. You know the debate I’m talking about: who should start at quarterback? So, let’s have it. Let me kick it off with this Josh Pate clip, which spends a fair amount of time on the question.
Now, as an enthusiastic rider on the “Trust Smart and Monken” train, I’m good with whomever the coaches choose, but I will say that I think Pate is likely on to something when he says that he doesn’t believe Daniels is fully recovered from his injury yet. If Bennett is good enough to lead his team to wins against every school on the regular season schedule — and it certainly looks like he is — where’s the rush to get Daniels back in action?
Spare me with the rustiness talk. As I’ve posted before, Daniels, after an absence of more than a year and a half from live action, stepped on the field against Mississippi State and delivered a 190+ passer rating performance against a defense that literally sold out to stop the run. We’re supposed to believe that now he needs to clear the kinks out since he hasn’t played in a few weeks? I’m not buying it. He’s kept himself mentally sharp, even, as Bennett mentioned post-game, to the extent of going over the pre-snap coverages with Bennett during the Florida game.
If there’s any rustiness to be concerned about, it’s not with Daniels. It’s with the receiving corps, which is slowly returning to full strength. Jackson and Washington have both shown it takes a little time and action to get back up to full speed. The returning receivers can work on getting back to game speed just as easily with one quarterback as with the other.
On top of that, how much of a workout do you want to give your quarterback against a wretched Missouri run defense? If there’s even a hint that a little more rest and recovery benefits Daniels, why risk that?
Obviously, if the coaches have decided that Bennett’s their man, the above really isn’t that relevant. If, however, their choice is Daniels — and I think it will be, simply because his third-down performance and his ability to unload uncannily quickly separates him from Bennett — waiting until there’s a good opportunity to insert a fully healthy Daniels into a game when he can work with most of the receiving corps makes the most sense.
Enough from me on this. Add your thoughts and opinions in the comments.