If there's one quarterbacks whisperer in college football we could all take some advice from, it would probably be the guy who has churned out two Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks in the past three seasons - Lincoln Riley.
Reflecting back on his time as a young coordinator at ECU, Riley shared some quarterback-centered advice in a recent article in Sports Illustrated, noting that he doesn't believe in grading his quarterbacks. Instead, he relies on his eyes and his gut instincts.
From the SI piece.
He learned that it’s better to trust what he can see during one season at East Carolina, when he graded two players of similar ability, then chose the starter based on the highest score. “When I did it,” he says, “my instinct was telling me, it’s the other guy, don’t listen to the math.” His instinct was right. Riley switched to the backup in the middle of their second game and never went back. “I don’t give a damn about some 98 or 87%,” he says. “If I don’t have enough feel about how they should play, then I shouldn’t be coaching the position anyway, honestly. It’s certainly more feel than numbers, for sure. More art than math, in a way.”
Coaches, especially those that find themselves with a quarterback battle on their hands, will need to come to grips with the unique limitations that COVID has presented us all with and take Riley's advice for deciding on a quarterback.
That advice may be more on point now than ever as we head into a unique 2020 season where no one truly knows what to expect.
Head here to read the full piece, which has some great insight into Riley's unique leadership style that has been a hit with players and his rise through the profession.