Butch Jones made an announcement this afternoon that Munchie Legaux will officially be the starting quarterback for the Pitt game and presumably the entire 2012 season. If you’ve been following this team closely this shouldn’t come as a shocker to you. There was chatter within the corners of the fanbase that senior Brendan Kay was going to overtake Legaux for the starting job because he was healthy for the first training camp in years.
Now this movement never made sense to me. The recurring argument was that because Legaux had so many mechanical flaws in 2011 he was going to be supplanted by Kay easily. Most dissenters note how flawless Kay’s delivery is and how poorly Legaux looked in the four games he played in last season. Yes it’s true that Munchie was fundamentally unpolished and didn’t put up the best passing numbers in 2011. But what those people fail to mention is how Kay has almost ZERO live game experience. The last time he commanded an offense for a consistent period of time was 6 years ago in high school. That’s a ton of rust.
Even I won’t argue that Munchie’s mechanics and passing stats weren’t ideal last season. But he improved noticeably in his final two games last year has received rave reviews from the coaching staff and observers this Summer. Not only is he gaining the trust of his teammates his fundamentals appear to be night and day compared to last season. Oh and those passing stats? Consider the opponents. In his two losses, Legaux was facing the 9th best passing defense in the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the 35th best in the West Virginia Mountaineers. Anyone criticizing a true sophomore who came in and performed poorly against those defenses is unfairly judging a player who was just a year removed from playing wide receiver.
And a late announcement from Butch shouldn’t be inferred as anything more than him posturing for the Panthers and breeding competition within his team. I’m not sure how close the ‘battle’ was over the Spring and Summer but just because he named his starting quarterback just over a week until Cincinnati’s home opener doesn’t mean it was close. Nor does it mean competition was one-sided, either. It means nothing. If you remember going into the 2010 and especially 2011, Butch withheld his decision to name a starting quarterback until just a couple of weeks until the first game. It was clear to 99.9% of the fanbase that Zach Collaros was QB-1 both seasons. The same assumption can be made here.
As you can probably tell I am pleased with this decision. Legaux has the most experience of any quarterback on the team and is the ideal quarterback to run this offense. Given the reports coming out of Fall camp, he appears to have transformed his delivery and overall understanding of the plays. Plus his ability to run is unmatched by nearly any ball carrier on the team. Expect Legaux to beat defenses as much with his feet as his arm, if not more so, this season. If it all comes together the Bearcats should be a well-oiled machine on offense yet again.
Of course I reserve the right to change face if Legaux stinks up the joint this year however.