Davis should have been our starter last season until he stopped putting time into the academic part of being a BC student-athlete and ultimately landed at East Carolina. Davis led the Pirates to victory Saturday throwing for 5 TDs on 27-of-46 passing for 383 yards. Sounds like numbers we'd love to have right now, correct?
Brian: Could a play like this have prompted a post like this? (Side note: is it really a Hail Mary when you start from the opponents' 33-yard line?)
Let me first tackle the question -- whether I'd like to see Shinskie or Davis as the starting QB. When I really think about this question, I actually see a lot of similarities between the two quarterbacks. Shinskie was maddeningly inconsistent last season and struggled when facing tough defenses and on the road.
Now when Davis took over for Crane in the 2008 Wake Forest game, after a few "deer-in-the-headlight" possessions where he fumbled twice and spotted Wake 14 points, Davis put together one solid drive (which happened to be the game-winner). That final drive would be the only bright spot for Davis on the road as the Eagles QB.
In his first true start at home against Maryland, Davis managed the game well enough, throwing for 134 yards and 2 TDs on 12-24 passing. After that, though, it was all downhill as Davis struggled in the ACC Championship Game and the Music City Bowl. Both Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt finished the year in the Top 30 in total defense (Maryland finished 63rd) and Davis struggled mightily in both those games. His final line in the ACC Championship was particularly dreadful -- completing just 17-of-43 passes, 1 TD, 2 INTs. He wasn't much better in the bowl game, completing far fewer than 50 percent of his passes and throwing 2 TDs to 2 INTs.
Now Davis' 383 yard, 5 touchdown performance was pretty impressive in week 1. But at the same time, the game was at home and against a Tulsa defense that finished 2009 in the bottom one-third of FBS programs in total defense. I'd imagine if Davis was still the QB of the Eagles, he'd have big games against BC's non-conference fodder and weaker ACC defenses, but still struggle just as much, if not more so, than Shinskie has against defenses like Virginia Tech, Clemson and North Carolina. Hindsight is clearly 20/20, but I think I'd rather have Shinskie as the Eagles QB over Davis.
Jeff: I agree. I still think Dave Shinskie's first season as a starter was better than Davis' first three games. Davis replaced Chris Crane late in the season while Shinskie replaced Davis early but Davis was surrounded by more talent and looked absolutely awful at times. Shinskie, in my opinion, has only been a lesser degree of bad on his worst days. Both have shown moments of greatness at times while wearing a BC uniform.
I guess my point is this. Maybe BC's offense doesn't lend itself to a quarterback throwing 5 TDs and passing for nearly 400 yards in a game. We know Chris Crane put up record breaking type numbers against N.C. State but that was in the Jags era. Now that Davis is in a different system his numbers are way better than they were at BC even under Jags.
Brian: The system argument is a good one. I mean, first year ECU coach Ruffin McNeill doesn't spend 10 seasons under Mike Leach at Texas Tech and avoid having some of Leach's high-octane, pass-first spread offense shape his offensive philosophy. The system probably helps Davis out considerably at ECU, but the quality of opponents probably is a greater factor in any success Davis has this year.
As a result, I think it's too early to jump to the conclusion that BC would rather still have Davis than Shinskie. Davis will probably have a lot of success against defenses like Memphis (next week), UAB and Rice -- three of the worst programs in terms of total defense in 2009 -- but we'll get a great chance of seeing just how Davis would have fared at BC when he goes up against teams like Virginia Tech, North Carolina and N.C. State later this year.
Jeff: In a strange way, Davis's success makes me feel better about Dave Shinskie because I know when I first compared Shinskie to Davis, I thought Shinskie was the better QB for BC and I still do.
Brian: If I had to pick at this point in time, I think I'd slightly lean towards Shinskie over Davis. That being said, I have actually changed my stance and think that Marscovetra has more upside than both Shinskie and Davis and hope to see much more from him this weekend against Kent State.