Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Deal ... or no deal for VT quarterback?

If there's a pact at QB, break it

BLACKSBURG -- We begin today with three quotes. No spin, no opinion, no conjecture. Not yet, anyway. Just three quotes.

The context: It's late August. Virginia Tech has just decided to redshirt quarterback Tyrod Taylor and name Sean Glennon the starter. Rodney Taylor, father of Tyrod, is asked for his thoughts on the decision. All three quotes are his.

Quote No. 1 (from the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk): "In a perfect world, Tech's coaches wanted to play both. They would've played whoever was hot. But from where we sit, that part is old for us."

Quote No. 2 (from The Daily Press in Newport News): "If he wasn't going to be the starter, let's redshirt him."

Quote No. 3 (from The Daily Press): "I don't look at it as forcing anyone's hand. At the end of the day, did we help them make their decision? Maybe."

Now let's zip through time, through the removal of the redshirt following the East Carolina loss, through the injuries to both quarterbacks, through the ups and downs of both signal-callers and the offense.

Let's get straight to this week.

This week, Tech coach Frank Beamer named Tyrod Taylor the starter for Saturday's game against Virginia. Taylor, who just suffered through the most brutal performance of his young career. Taylor, who was benched in the second quarter against Duke and replaced by the senior Glennon, who led one of the finest offensive drives of the season.

Cue the spin, opinion and conjecture.

How could all these facts not be related? Was there a deal? A handshake? A promise made to Taylor that if he took the redshirt off, he would get the majority of the playing time over Glennon?

Sure seems that way.

But if there was any kind of deal, it needs to be rescinded.


You play who produces, period. And if that means rotating quarterbacks, you do it. This game's stakes are much too high to do anything else.

Beamer was given a chance to tell us all we're crazy Tuesday. He was given a chance to say we've got it all wrong, that there was never any deal, that he would never let a player's father influence his decisions on playing time. Here is the exchange:

Me: "Frank, were any promises made at all to Tyrod Taylor's father about how much playing time he would get if he agreed to the shirt coming off?"

Beamer: "What?"

Me: "We've had questions about this because of comments by Rodney Taylor that he wasn't going to agree to this unless he got the lion's share of the playing time. Is there anything to that? Would you let a father influence your decisions in any way on playing time?"

Beamer: "All of my decisions, and what we've done this week, all of my decisions are what's best for Virginia Tech football. And totally what's best for Virginia Tech football. That's it."

That's the answer. Not sure it answers the question exactly, but that's the answer. And here's hoping he means it.

If playing the guy who's hot was your plan in the first place, then you play the guy who's hot. And that means playing both if you must. Perhaps Beamer feels Taylor is the best weapon against UVa's defense. And if Taylor's hot, you stick with him.

But let's be honest: There's no such thing as "hot" in this Tech offense right now. Your temperature ranges from icy to lukewarm. Taylor -- based on his four turnovers last week -- isn't exactly scalding.

Glennon? Well, there have been some positives. Since Taylor's ankle injury against Florida State, Glennon has completed 41-of-64 (64 percent) of his passes with two touchdowns and one interception. Taylor is 8-for-17 (47 percent) passing with no touchdowns, two interceptions, two fumbles and 82 rushing yards.

No spin, no opinion, no conjecture. Just stats.

You tell me: Who's hotter?

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