Frank Beamer and the Virginia Tech Hokies had major goals for this upcoming season. Put his team in a position to upset the #1 team in nation on Labor Day, and win the Coastal Division. Those plans were derailed Monday night when starting quarterback Michael Brewer was knocked out of the game against Ohio State with a broken collarbone. The question now is who takes the reins under center and leads Virginia Techs offense.
Initial reports had Brewer out 4-5 weeks, which would allow him to return as early as October 9th against North Carolina State. Unfortunately that diagnosis is likely inaccurate and the more appropriate timeline is around 6-8 weeks. Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler was very upset when speaking about the injury.
#Hokies Scot Loeffler clearly emotional talking about Michael Brewer injury: "I put that kid through hell and he played his tail off today."— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) September 8, 2015
Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times reported earlier today that Brenden Motley is listed as the starter with redshirt freshman Chris Durkin and true freshman Dwayne Lawson listed as backups.
Brenden Motley listed as starting QB this week on depth chart in game notes. Backup QB listed as Durkin OR Lawson, FWIW. #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) September 8, 2015
Let's take a look at the three signal callers competing for starting duties.
Brenden Motley - Redshirt Junior
Motley entered the game Monday night after Brewers injury and his head was spinning. It was understandable, but can Motley be the guy to lead this team. According to @247 Sports his recruiting profile had him listed as an athlete. During his time at Christiansburg High School, Virginia Preps named Motley to the Group AA all-state selection for defensive back. One might wonder, why is Motley still playing quarterback and how did he win the number two spot? It looks like Beamer and Loeffler didn't even have a plan in place for this type of situation. The two had hoped to develop Motley over time, but that is not the case anymore.
Motley ran the Wing T attack in high school and was not asked to throw the ball much. If Loeffler sticks with him as the starter he will have to tailor the offense to his skillset and possibly install an option attack. The redshirt junior is too inconsistent to have him drop back in the pocket and throw 20-25 passes a game.
Chris Durkin - Redshirt Freshman
Durkin is the cousin of current Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin. The redshirt freshman was actually committed to Michigan State back in 2013, but decommitted after concerns about playing time. D.J. Durkin then called Scott Loeffler to discuss having Chris come play for him at Virginia Tech.
Durkin's cousin, D.J., is the defensive coordinator at Florida. Coached with Scot Loeffler there and put in a good word with the #Hokies OC.— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) December 17, 2013
Chris has yet to play in a college game. He is a big kid and is listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds. According to Scout.com He was a four-star prospect coming out of Ursuline high school in Ohio and was listed as a pro-style quarterback. He has the ability to scramble and run the spread option, but his arm strength is not considered to be the most powerful. Chris might be the best option if the battle were just between him and Motley, but that is not saying much. He is virtually unknown in Blacksburg and has failed to impress in two full off-seasons.
Dwayne Lawson - True Freshman
Lawson comes to Blacksburg as the most talented quarterback recruit since Tyrod Taylor. The freshman was also a four-star prospect out of Hillsborough high school in Tampa, Florida. Lawson was committed to the University of Miami before flipping his commitment to Virginia Tech. One interesting note is that Lawson's former high school offensive coordinator and quarterback coach is now the offensive quality control coach at Virginia Tech. He was hired in February 2015, an exact month after Lawson commitment. I am not a genius by any stretch of the imagination, but it looks like Beamer is all in with Lawson. The 6-foot-4 200 pound plus signal caller has a cannon for an arm and can use his legs to make a play. The perfect recipe for a struggling offensive line.
Beamer and Loeffler don't need another sitting duck back there in the pocket. Being a true freshman in college football has no bearing anymore. Look at how Deshaun Watson of Clemson performed last season. Before his injury, Watson threw for 14 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions in eight games.
The current situation is eerily similar to the 2007 season when Sean Glennon was replaced by another talented true freshman by the name of Tyrod Taylor. Of course Brewer was not benched, but Lawson can offer the same type of play making ability with his legs that Taylor provided. Beamer's reason for the change back in 2007 was also due to a porous offensive line. The same situation the Hokies are currently in this season.
According to Beamer, it was never his intentions to redshirt Lawson and even had a couple of packages they considered using him in against Ohio State.
"We were just concerned that it might be a little too much too soon," the head coach said. "I think the other side of it is, there’s guys that have it, and I think he has it. You can’t put them on a big enough stage. No stage is too big.
"Michael Vick was that way, and Tyrod Taylor was that way, and Bryan Randall was that way and I can go on and on. We’ll see. It’ll be an interesting week to see how he handles things."
Virginia Tech will take on the Furman Paladins this Saturday. This is a perfect matchup to figure out the quarterback situation before a trip to Purdue the following week. Beamer and Loeffler might play all three quarterbacks to figure out what they have. If the decision were based on talent alone, Lawson would be the guy. I understand Beamer doesn't want to inflate the ego of the true freshman so quickly, but he might not have a choice. Either fix the problem now, or face another mediocre 2015.