Sunday, July 09, 2006

2006 Season Preview: The QBs

Who are they?

Chad Henne (Junior) - 2 year incumbent starting QB with a 16-8 record as starter. Had a breakout freshman season and a not quite so spectacular sophomore campaign. But he's back looking for big things this year in the Big Ten.

Jason Forcier (RS Freshman) - very good athlete in HS, but it's unknown how much passing ability he has at the NCAA level. With Matt Gutierrez transferred off to Idaho State, Forcier is now next up if anything happens to Henne.

David Cone (Freshman) - big (6'6") kid who ran an option offense in HS. Unfortunately, he probably is only slightly more mobile than a statue. On the plus side, he's got a big time arm. Might push Forcier for backup duty, but unlikley IMHO.

What to expect this year?

Chad Henne - last year he didn't improve upon his great freshman season, but a lot of that has to do with several factors beyond his control. For one, Braylon Edwards moved on. Now Jason Avant was a very good receiver, but Edwards was sensational. Mike Hart was also really beat up last year and was rarely at 100% which put a lot more pressure on Henne. It's also worth mentioning that the OL was banged up for much of the year last year so Henne had even less help. But despite all that, he managed to put up nearly identical numbers from 2004 to 2005. Let's check them out:

2004 - 240/399 (60.2%), 2743 yards, 25 TDs, 12 INTs
2005 - 223/382 (58.4%), 2526 yards, 23 TDs, 8 INTs

So what is he going to do this year? Well, for starters almost everybody is healthy right now with the exception of Antonio Bass who would've been another playmaker on the outside. They lost Jason Avant and Tim Massaquoi, but return nearly everybody else from the 3 deep at WR, TE, and TB including returners and newcomers like Mario Manningham, Steve Breaston, Adrian Arrington, LaTerryal Savoy, Doug Dutch, Tyler Ecker, Mike Massey, Carson Butler, Mike Hart, Kevin Grady, Carlos Brown, and Brandon Minor. Plus the OL is at least as good as it was last year despite losing Adam Stenavich because they are finally getting healthy.

Henne has been through a lot at Michigan, and he's accomplished a lot. Now he should have great command of the offense and a very talented group of skill players around him. I'm looking for him to make a name nationally this year with a big season. Here's a guess at his numbers including bowl game:

265/405 (65.4%), 2950 yards, 31 TDs, 10 INTs

Those wouldn't quite get him up into Heisman consideration this year, but they'd certainly push him to the forefront of contenders in 2007.

As for Forcier and Cone? If Henne goes down we are in trouble. Forcier could probably do some damage with his feet, but the heat would really be on Mike Hart and co. to grind out yards. Speaking of Hart, I think I'll look at the running backs later on this week.



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