Another 7-6 season is in the books. It was a season of multiple ups and downs as the Eagles came together and it was beautiful...well sort of. Now with the season completed, we the fans and writers can perform an autopsy on the team. Over the next few weeks Eric and AJ will be breaking down the position groups to find out what exceeded our expectations and what wasn’t up to snuff.
Today’s let us look at the quarterbacks. A position that started the summer with a position battle, and ended with the backup taking control of the reigns before transferring out of the school.
Heading into the season the presumptive favorite to be the starter was clearly graduate Darius Wade. Wade had waited his turn for years, missing his first season as a starter due to a leg injury and finding himself in a backup role to Patrick Towles last season. In a rather stunning move, he was benched again, this time in favor of redshirt freshman Anthony Brown. Brown started to find his groove, most memorably throwing for 275 yards and three touchdowns against Virginia. Then disaster struck when he went down with a non-contact injury against N.C. State. Darius Wade jumped in and did an admirable job to finish the season, pulling off two wins against UConn and Syracuse.
- Anthony Brown 134/258 (51%) 11 touchdowns 9 interceptions and 1367 yards. 42 rushes for 210 yards and 1 touchdown
- Darius Wade 62/102 (60.8%) 3 touchdowns 3 interceptions.
Brown certainly made some plays in 2017, and you probably couldn’t ask for more out of a redshirt freshman. He started off hot, making some big plays against Northern Illinois, before he started looking a bit more rattled against Wake and Notre Dmae. He made some nice passes, and made good reads, and by the end of the season he was becoming more adept at tucking it and running if the space was there. Against UVA he was a game changer, lighting up what was supposed to be a stout passing offense, threading in some good passes and racking up 3 TDs.
However, there are some things he is going to want to improve on in 2018. First of all he was inconsistent in terms of accuracy. If you look at his games you have games like Virginia (79.2%), Central Michigan (66.7%) and Notre Dame (60%), but on the other hand you have Louisville (29.4%), Florida State (30%), and Virginia Tech (43.3%). Of all the ACC quarterbacks, Brown ranked last in accuracy, clearly something that is going to need to improve upon.
Another area he is going to want to improve upon is avoiding contact. While his injury he sustained had nothing to do with getting hit, there were multiple times last year where Brown was getting clobbered at the end of runs. The game that comes most to mind is Florida State, where he got rung so hard on one run Wade had to come in. If he is going to be a mobile QB, he is going to need to learn to get down before hits come or injuries are going to mount.
FINAL GRADE: B-