Let me tell you a story.
A not so long time ago, in a state far, far away, there was a high school quarterback. His senior year, he won MVP awards and offensive player of the year awards while setting single-season school records left and right. Despite this, he was still a lightly regarded prospect by college recruiters. For the sake of identification, we shall refer to this player as “our hero.”
Our hero redshirted his first year of college, then, as a redshirt freshman took over the starting job in the final four games of the year. During those four games, his team had three of its most competitive matchups of the entire season, including knocking off a national powerhouse. In fact, the final three games of that season went so well that his head coach received a contract extension and a raise, with the athletic director claiming “PROGRESS!” for a moribund football program.
Surely, our hero is the presumptive starter for his sophomore year, right?
Not so fast, my friend.
Instead, the head coach went with an incoming hotshot Juco transfer whose claim to fame was being recruited by noted Air Raid strategist Mike Leach. After a robust start to the season, Mr. Juco’s numbers took a nose-dive during conference play. Following back-to-back shutouts, our hero starts five of the final six games of this season.
Surely our hero is the presumptive starter for his junior year, right?
Don’t call me Shirley.
Mr. Juco wins the starting job in fall camp for the second year in a row. However, with Mr. Juco out there taking sacks and overthrowing receivers for the second straight year, this time it doesn’t take eight games before we see our hero get the starting nod. Our hero starts game five and completes 75% of his passes with 3 TDs and no INTs.
Obviously, our hero will be the starter for the rest of the season, right, coach?
It’s hard for me to make that assumption without looking at the video.
Obviously, our hero is Carter Stanley, and this is his story.
Back to that redshirt freshman season for a moment. Of the two guys he beat out for the starting job that season, one went on to win 11 games with Boise State (Montell Cozart), and the other has just taken over the starting job at Virginia Tech (Ryan Willis). Those schools, um, well, they aren’t bad at football.
It seems to me that all David Beaty has ever done at Kansas is misidentify quarterback talent.
Eleven times in the David Beaty era, a KU quarterback has thrown for 240+ yards. Carter Stanley has four of those performances. What’s particularly disconcerting about this is that David Beaty’s “specialty” is offense, specifically the Air Raid. The fact that he’s only had eleven 240+ yard passers in 41 games is absolutely absurd.
But here are the craziest stats, per Jesse Newell:
In Beaty’s 41 games, only one quarterback has thrown for at least three touchdowns with no interceptions: Stanley against Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Also: Only one KU quarterback, over that same four-year period, has competed at least 75 percent of his passes with at least 15 attempts. That was Stanley from Saturday as well.
And per Tom Keegan (prior to the OSU game):
Average score in Stanley’s Big 12 starts: Opponent 34, Kansas 18. Average score in Bender’s Big 12 starts: Opponent 49, Kansas 13.
Why can’t Stanley lock down the starting quarterback position?
Is he a bad practice player? A bad teammate? Does he have smelly dog farts? Maybe he beat Beaty at Connect 4 one time during a weather delay or something.
What is the deal?
Here was Beaty’s immediate reaction to Stanley’s most recent performance (75%, 3 TDs, no INTs):
I thought he did some good things, but not enough. We still made some mistakes and errors that cost us, got us off the field early in some drives, and we’ve got to be better.
Agreed. You should definitely get better. Better at teaching things like blocking techniques, tackling angles, play calling, and clock management.
Will coaches continue to evaluate their opponent week to week when selecting a starting quarterback?
You’re not going to bait me into that right now, brother. Listen, I’ve got to look at the tape. I mean, we’re not talking about the quarterback anymore so no more questions about that. Let’s go to something else.
But the most damning quote from Beaty’s Oklahoma State postgame presser?
Hopefully we’ll get Miles (Kendrick) back this next week and we’ll have a full room of competition.
I feel bad for Carter Stanley, I really do. He has (apparently) done everything that’s been asked of him and he keeps getting jerked around by his head coach. A head coach who, by the way, still has a job that pays him almost two million dollars per year because of Carter Stanley and that win against Texas in 2016.
No, Carter Stanley isn’t Will Grier or Kyler Murray or Trace McSorley or Jake Fromm. He isn’t Todd Reesing and he probably isn’t even Bill Whittemore.
He doesn’t have the biggest arm. He doesn’t run a 4.4 forty. But he’s a leader who has the respect of his teammates, and the undeniable fact is that Kansas is more competitive when he is in the game.
One more quote, this one from WR Steven Sims, again courtesy of Jesse Newell:
We see our quarterback dropping his shoulder trying to run defenders over, that’s energy. That brings energy to the team. What quarterbacks do y’all know dropping their shoulder on safeties? You don’t know any. But Carter Stanley does that.
Call him what you will - gamer, baller, scrapper, whatever. Just start the kid. He just had one of the most productive games for a quarterback in the David Beaty era against Oklahoma State while throwing up with the flu. I really don’t know what more you can ask of a player.
Why can’t Carter Stanley win the QB job?
Unfortunately, nobody knows.
Not even David Beaty.