The Gray Era: If Not Now, When?

The Marqueis Gray era should begin Saturday against South Dakota State. There is no reason to prolong the Adam Weber experiment.

In the post below GN cries out to give Weber more time. Weber's been inconsistent, GN argues, which means that sometimes he's been less than awful and therefore he should remain the starter. Bah. Sorry, GN, I love ya, but I completely disagree with you here.

We've had almost three full seasons to watch Weber now. At one point, perhaps like many of you, I had high hopes for the Shoreview native. But instead of taking a step forward in his junior year, Weber has regressed. I don't know if it's the change in offensive coordinators or the tweaks to his throwing motion. It doesn't matter. Weber is completing 54 percent of his passes this season, down significantly from 62 percent last year. 

In looking through Weber's stats for his three seasons one thing stuck out to me. Would any of you had imagined during Weber's freshman or sophomore seasons that as a junior, against Purdue, Weber would attempt only 9 passes? Or that he would throw for more than 300 yards only once as a junior--during his 416 yard aberration against Michigan State. 

It's not just because fans live or die with the team--or play Madden football--that many fans are calling for a change at quarterback. It's because we've seen a quarterback who once looked to have promise take a few steps backwards. Has he made some good plays? Led the charge on some nice drives? Absolutely. And has he perhaps had a raw deal with the turnover at coordinator and the offensive line situation? Yep.

But now is the time to make the change for reasons beyond Weber's on the field performance.

That reason wears #5 for the maroon and gold. Here's what GN said about why starting Gray won't happen..

 And brace yourself for this...barring injury, he'll likely start every game next year.  I know that many of you are going to throw your arms up and declare that if Brewster even thinks about starting Weber over Gray next year he should be fired before the 1st quarter is over.  But it just won't happen.

First and foremost, coaches will go with what they know and who they trust.  I coached basketball at the college level for several years and while I completely understand that it is a different sport and a VERY different level of talent, I learned several things that are true at any level.  One is that coaches will go with who they trust.  Adam Weber has a three year resume under his belt and Brewster, after watching him in 38 games and hundreds of practices knows exactly what he is and is not capable of.  The casual or even passionate fan who is so livid after the first two quarters of the Illini game that they saw nothing positive in the second half; are not nearly well enough informed to make this decision.

Brewster is going to play the QB that best gives him a chance to win.

Gray happens to be the most heralded recruit to come to Minnesota under Brewster. He's the future. I'll grant GN that Weber is the quarterback who gives the Gophers the best chance to beat the Jackrabbits and the Hawkeyes, but continuing to start Weber into next year only prolongs the maturation process for Gray and stunts the longterm potential of the team.

Let me put it this way .... which quarterback might eventually lead the Gophers to the Rose Bowl? I think we know now that Adam Weber will most certainly never do that. So, why not let Gray learn the ropes now? Why not let him build a rapport with Brandon Green? Why not let him adjust to the speed or defensive packages of the Hawkeyes in an unfriendly environment during the season finale? There's no good reason, not even Brewster's job security.

If Brewster transitions to Gray now, all of a sudden Minnesota fans will be looking for signs of hope instead of pointing out reasons for despair. Gray will be the first quarterback recruited by Brewster to throw to receivers recruited by Brewster. This is one of the rare occasions where the best thing for the football Gophers is also the best thing for Brewster's job security and the public relations needs of the program.

I have no idea how Gray will perform if he's given the starting nod. I expect he'll have some flashes of good with a steady stream of bad. And the offensive line will be just as bad for Gray as it has been for Weber.

None of this is an indictment on Weber, his character or work ethic. But, again, for the long-term health of the program, it's time to turn the keys over to a young quarterback who just might lead the Gophers out of its decades-long funk.

If not now, when? Gray's junior year? I might be alone in this, but I'd much rather see what we have in Gray sooner rather than later.

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