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Just The Sports: Cooling Off On John Beck

Just The Sports

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cooling Off On John Beck

Two years ago, during the 2006 college football season and before the 2007 NFL draft, I was the driver of the John Beck bandwagon. I told anyone who would listen to me that John Beck was an excellent NFL prospect and that teams should be looking to draft him ahead of more famous quarterbacks like Brady Quinn. Now, two years later, I have to admit that I may have been too hasty with my effusive praise for John Beck and that I have begun to cool on him as an NFL player. This is not to say that he was not a very good college quarterback, but the fact is with the way his successor, Max Hall, has played is keeping John Beck from being a special college quarterback.

The years I will be using to compare John Beck and Max Hall to each other are the last two years of Beck's college career and then Hall's two years as a starting quarterback. I only chose the last two years of Beck's career because 2005 was the year Bronco Mendenhall took over the reins as head coach and brought over Robert Anae from Texas Tech to be the offensive coordinator. It was in that season that Anae's system turned Beck from a quarterback whose completion percentage was hovering between 52%-55% to a 64.5% passer.

Hall did not have as great a year in his first year as starting quarterback under Anae as Beck did, only completing 60.1% and 7.8 yards per pass attempt to Beck's 64.5% and 7.2 yards per pass attempt. However, comparison of the two quarterback's two years under Anae shows the competition is basically a wash. Beck has slightly superior passing statistics (66.7% completion percentage/8.2 yards per pass attempt to 64.5% completion percentage/8.0 yards per pass attempt) than Hall, but they are not statistically significantly better, which reiterates the fact Beck was a product of the offensive scheme in which he was playing.

Anytime there are successive college quarterbacks who play under the same offensive coordinator and combine a large number of pass attempts per game with a high completion percentage with seemingly no drop-off no matter who the quarterback, it should scream to the observer that these are quarterbacks who are made by the system and probably would not have as much success if they play for someone else. The fact there is no drop-off in production from BYU quarterbacks demonstrates John Beck was probably not worthy of all the accolades with which I wanted to anoint him.

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