Dear Shane and Sam,
Wanted to drop you a quick line as you prepare for Kansas State this Saturday. I know you guys are probably tired of everybody droning on and on about who the starting quarterback should be, about who has the most and least experience, who is he better runner, blah-blah-blah.
Well, I’m here to help.
No, I’m not a football coach, but I played up until the 7th grade, so there’s that. And I used to go to games a lot with my dad, so there’s that, too. And I’m a member of the media – I’ve written about and/or broadcasted football for more than 40 years now, and media members are pretty much experts at whatever they cover. The first game I covered was a six-man game in Turkey, Texas, where Bob Wills Is Still the King. But, you guys are young, so I won’t bore you, just wanted to give you my credentials.
The first thing you have to realize is that it doesn’t really matter right now who starts, because this team needs you both for the rest of the season. So get rid of any notion that you are going to be “The Guy” in 2017.
Let me address you first, Sam, because you are younger and need a little more advice than Shane.
Sam, don’t rush becoming the starter, being the alpha dog of the pack. Yes, I know, it’s your nature to want to go to battle right now. Though we’ve never met, I sense that “waiting” is not really something that comes naturally to you. You are that growing Labrador pulling tight at the end of the leash; I know you want to run. But you don’t know yet what you’re going to run into when we unhook you from the leash.
Here’s the deal, Sam: pick your spots. Like that Labrador, you still sometimes just knock the water bowl across the kitchen floor and soil the carpet. Now is the time for you to learn and observe, and then when you are a little more trained, you’ll be able to run loose in the yards of the Big 12.
That interception you threw against USC after getting slapped in the face? Don’t do that. That fumble near the goal line? Don’t do that, either. Spin moves when running with the football? No. But, again, there will be times when you have to be unleashed, and you’re getting very, very close. Just let it come naturally.
Which brings us to you, Shane.
Appreciate the win in Ames, Boo. That touchdown pass over the middle while getting smashed was on point; good work.
But here’s the deal: we need to limit the “getting smashed” part of your game. Otherwise, Sam is coming into the game, and he’s still trying to jump on the furniture. Shane, cut your runs in half and learn to slide. There’s a real good baseball coach in Arlington who can help you with that. Your whole body hurts this week I’m sure, and nothing gets a defense frothing at the mouth more than the site of the opposing quarterback taking off up the field. They want to hurt you. They will hurt you. I’m not Denzel Washington and you aren’t Vince Young. Stop.
Appreciate you not throwing a bunch of interceptions, by the way. Your play ensured that your team could win Thursday night, and not throwing interceptions is very important with these gauntlet of games on the horizon. Remember: running is bad, not throwing interceptions is good.
Both of you, recognize that you will both play, so there’s no need for you to feel stress. High expectations for this year faded once Maryland hung half a hundred on you at DKR, so do not put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
If you get pulled, it’s not because you’re not as good as the other guy, it’s just that your team needs someone else at that particular time, depending on the circumstances. Your coach is a Mensa, so don’t question his decisions. I’m not sure what a Mensa means, but I think it means your IQ is twice as much as Bill Snyder’s age.
To you both: there will be times over the next month when both of you will be wondering what is going on. That’s natural; again, don’t worry, because “worry” and “quarterback” should not be connected. Ever. Maybe the old Purple Wizard will dial up a coverage package you’ve never seen before. Maybe some Okie will ring your bell after the whistle. Maybe a Horny Frog will spit in your eye and you will need some help from your cohort.
When these things happen, remember your teams needs you both. When and where and how is irrelevant.
Good luck to you both. I’m here if you need any more advice.