Nathan Stanley is no longer an Ole Miss quarterback. This was confirmed by Houston Nutt yesterday with a reportedly one-word textmessage (the word? "Blofarkus") to Veazey after the conclusion of Wednesday night's practice. After being the likely successor to Jevan Snead and penciled-in starter of the 2010 season, Nathan Stanley found himself in a position no quarterback would envy - fourth in the depth chart of a middling SEC squad, directly behind a guy who might not even be eligible to play next season.
While part of me feels that Nate got a raw deal, another part of me realizes that he has had some real struggles this offseason. Throughout spring practices, he hasn't displayed the confidence or skill he displayed before the beginning of last season, and seemed to be going through the motions as opposed to actually fighting to earn the starting job.
This does clarify a somewhat-murky quarterback situation, with Randall Mackey and Zack Stoudt emerging as leaders to earn the starting spot over a promising but raw Barry Brunetti, but one can't help but ask a few questions in the wake of Nathan Stanley's decision.
For starters, what does this signify? I think that this primarily shows that the coaches are distancing themselves from a pro-set and moving towards the read-option, dink-and-dunk offense we saw Jeremiah Masoli lead late last season. Considering David Lee's experiences with the Wildcat and Pat White option in Miami, this doesn't come as a surprise. Also, when seeing how the offensive line, receivers, and halfbacks developed into such a system during the second half of 2010 - a system which did see some notable offensive successes, despite the season's overall suck-ass-itude - this is certainly a good coaching decision.
This also shows that Zack Stoudt and Barry Brunetti may actually be that good. That of course, is the optimist in me talking, but I've read nothing but praise, objective and otherwise, for Stoudt's leadership and arm strength as well as Brunetti's athleticism.
Then there's the even tougher question to answer, and that's how he could go from the starter at the beginning of last season to the bottom of the depth chart in a few short months? Remember last spring with Nathan Stanley and Raymond Cotton - I wonder how that guy's doing - were dueling for the starting job and doing a damn fine job at it? Remember then when Ray decided that he preferred wadded women's undergarments and hissied up the coaches for not giving him more time in Spring drills, despite having an injured rotator cuff? Remember then when Raymond Cotton leftOxford for South Alabama, bum shoulder and all, because he was so butthurt over that?
It was Nate Stanley's job to lose... which is exactly what he did when Jeremiah Masoli was brought into Oxford. To be fair, Masoli's a far more potent offensive weapon than Nathan Stanley ever was, but perhaps that was the beginning of the end of Nathan Stanley Ole Miss career.
Juco and I have discussed this at length, and we both feel that his being pulled in the Jacksonville State game, despite throwing three touchdowns, because of his giving up a scoop-and-score and reaction thereafter may have left a permanently sour taste in the guy's mouth. If the coaches are going to pull you for a relatively minor transgression - over the course of an entire season, that play means little - for a guy who they very clearly worked their asses off to bring in and replace you, then they're openly demonstrating that you've got little value in their offense. Why would anyone work hard after coming to such a conclusion, especially someone with the ego of a quarterback?
That provides a fun segue into a question which needs to be asked (if only to rustle the backhair of the Razorback partisans) is whether or not Houston Nutt really is TEH QB KILLAR?!!1 When looking at what we thought of Nathan Stanley a few springs ago, as a freshman with a nice arm and good touch, compared to what we think of him now, an unstable junior who has cearly let his competition overtake him, one can't help but think that maybe this could be the most legitimate cause to question the quarterback coaching of one Houston Dale Nutt we've seen at Ole Miss.
I do think that the "QWARTORBACK KILLUH" meme, as with any heap of idiocy originating in northwest Arkansas, is overplayed, hyperbolized, and spoonfed to the peabrained dolts who comprise much of the SEC's fan bases by everyone's favorite slophouse with little effort. And of course people just gobble that shit up like, pun intended, pigs at a trough, because it's easy to have someone else reach stunningly simple conclusions for you - convincing yourself is too tough, so let somebody else do the work for you, amirite? But I'll be damned if we didn't see Nathan Stanley go from a middling SEC quarterback to a, frankly, bad one seemingly overnight.
In the short run, Stanley's departure doesn't have any real impact on our program, but one can't help but question the long term viability of this coaching staff with regards to quarterback play and general attrition. Of course it's not the end of the world, but it's not something in which we should find much comfort, either.
Twitter was abuzz with this yesterday once this news broke. The gloom-and-doomer's, snarksters, and prepubescent (or totally adult) adulators of Nathan Stanley's mom (we put that photo up two years ago, and we're stillgetting Google search hits on it, you sickos) all had $0.02 worth of opinion to share. My opinions on this are mixed, and I imagine the preceding bits of disconnected thought and information demonstrate that well enough. I'll leave y'all up to the further postulatin' and gesticulation right after I leave Nathan Stanley with my personal wishes that he find a place where he can play and do well. Best of luck to you, Nate. You gave our program three seasons of work, and for that we thank you.