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Team needs more production at quarterback
Posted By Jay Ramos On Nov 2 2010 @ 11:45 pm In FIU | No Comments
-As published at fiusm.com, written by me.
The fourth quarter of Saturday’s loss to Florida Atlantic was not only one to forget for Wesley Carroll, it was one to disregard for the rest of his career.
The junior signal caller had the ball taken out of his hands as the team ran the ball four times before being stopped at the goal line in the team’s first drive of the final period. On the next possession, Carroll completed a few short passes before tossing an interception on fourth down. After an FAU fumble, Carroll was intercepted again. On the team’s last possession, looking to force a play, Carroll was picked off again, making it three for the game, all coming in the fourth period.
As much as Carroll would like to forget about it, onlookers might be unable to do just that if the team misses out on a bowl eligible season once again.
With the stakes high and the team riding the momentum of an easy early conference schedule, the team couldn’t generate enough offense against an FAU team that had lost five consecutive games coming in.
It hasn’t been the first time the team has come up short in the clutch, led by Carroll. There was also the time Carroll tossed a three yard pass to T.Y Hilton four yards away from pay dirt on the team’s last possession as time expired on fourth down with Texas A&M (Sept. 18) up a touchdown in the second game of the year.
Carroll has also shown some promise, mainly in big games at North Texas and Mayland, but seven games into his FIU career, Carroll has left some to be desired.
Carroll came to FIU with a hype surrounding him, with credentials such as Southeastern Conference experience he got at Mississippi State, where he won the Autozone Liberty Bowl in 2007.
Paul McCall, the team’s starter over the last two season’s prior to 2010, was an afterthought as a recruit out of Hollywood Hills High. With no pass protection and no run blocking up front, however, McCall was very formidable for the Golden Panthers. He was sacked over 50 times in his two years as a starter from 2008-09, but managed to keep his interception total in single digits both times and average over 2,000 yards a season, his senior year one in which he was banged up for the majority of.
Carroll has been fortunate to enjoy the benefits of an offensive line that has made strides in 2010. FIU has allowed the least amount of sacks in the Sun Belt Conference this year, and for the first time in Mario Cristobal’s tenure, have managed to sustain a decent running game.
Those are a couple of luxuries McCall didn’t have. Taking into account the first three games of McCall’s first season as a starter, the team was 2-1, just like this season, but McCall had to face conference powers in Middle Tennessee and Troy during that stretch. McCall threw seven touchdowns and two interceptions in those games, and averaged nearly 250 yards a game at a serviceable completion rate.
Carroll’s numbers through that span: two touchdowns and four interceptions, as well as less yards in a similar amount of attempts against arguably the SBC’s three worst teams.
Despite improvement’s around the board for the Golden Panthers, they haven’t gotten better quarterback play, and probably have regressed thus far.
MAKING A PUSH
Carroll may not be a prototypical quarterback in the sense of physical tools and admirable size, but it’s not as if he isn’t capable of playing better. Even if Carroll is not better than McCall, there should be better play at the position if not for the fact that pass protection has improved and he has a running game to back him, in addition to the best group of wide receivers in the SBC.
And it’s not that Carroll has been bad either. He just hasn’t been as good as his talent or weaponry would indicate. The offense hasn’t been very explosive through the air either, with the team tied for last in the SBC in yards per completion. Some of that goes into play calling as well.
The defense is very good, but not enough to single handedly win games.
If the team is going to win four of its next five games and to be eligible for the first bowl appearance in team history and compete for the conference crown, Carroll will need to do more.
The man behind the mask with burly locks of blond hair coming out of his helmet, whom the team rarely allows to talk in public, will need to do some talking on the field for the team to reach their season goal.
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