Coach Charlie Weis announced today that Evan Sharpley will get the nod at QB Saturday against the USC Trojans in place of Jimmy Clausen. Thank goodness. Sharpley will probably make some mistakes, as he has been prone to do, but so far this year the team has appeared to have more energy with Evan in the game. He also gets the ball out of his hands quicker and has shown more ability, or at least more willingness, to stretch opposing defenses vertically. Over the past few games our defense has actually played well enough to overcome a few offensive mistakes. As long as the "O" is moving the ball and occasionally putting points on the board, a small number of mistakes won't kill us. It will certainly be better than a mistake-free offense that can't get a first down.
Here are the stat lines for Sharps and Clausen so far this season:
Clausen: 81 of 141 (57.4%), 618 yards, 1 TD, 5 INT, 89.51 QB Rating.
Sharpley: 43 of 80 (53.8%), 479 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT, 111.42 QB Rating.
It's interesting to see that despite a lower completion percentage, Sharpley has a much higher QB efficiency rating. That's because he's getting more out of his passes. With roughly half the completions of Clausen, Sharpley has only 22% fewer yards and 2 more touchdowns. Clausen has gotten 7.6 yards per completion, while Evan is getting 11.1 per completion. Although Evan has played in situations that have required him to be aggressive down the field (i.e., we have been trailing), it's also true that he's been throwing the ball into a defense that KNEW we were going to be airing it out.
This will be Evan Sharpley's first start at quarterback. Prior to the opener I wrote about first-time starters, and noted (Stats slightly corrected due to reader feedback):
Overall, of the 34 different quarterbacks making their first starts in the "OC Domer Era", there were 26 wins against 7 losses and 1 tie. [...]
First time starters are just 14-7-1 when the start doesn't come in a season opener. Not bad, but not great either. But it makes sense. These guys are starting after (1) they failed to win the job at the start of the season, and (2) the #1 QB either got hurt or struggledInjuries can force a change at any time, but quarterback changes are much more likely in the first half of a season than in the second half. New quarterbacks got their first starts in games 2 through 5 of the season fifteen times. Games 6 through 11 had first-time starters only eight times. Weeks 4 and 5 are the most popular times for a mid-season QB change. It seems that by the time the mid-point of the season is reached, you're dancing with who brung ya.
Good luck Evan!
Beat the Trojans!