September 21, 2006 // Notre Dame Football

Heisman: Strong finish could overshadow loss, slow start

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Frank already visited this issue, but I’d like to add a quick note about Brady 2006 vs. Brady 2005.

We can all agree that Brady Quinn and the Notre Dame offense has yet to hit their stride.  They have yet to put on the show and put up the numbers that we came to expect from the 2005 team. 

As an eternal optimist, I’ll always try to look at the bright side and the things that can still go very right for the players and team we support without a second thought.

So I got to thinking about Brady and his performance so far this year compared to his performance through three games last year.

             ATT   COMP   PERC   YDS   TD   INT
2005     117    70         60%     851    9     2
2006     122    72         59%     767    6     3

In Quinn’s first three games last year, he faced what ended up being below average defenses in Pitt, Michigan and Michigan State.  Pitt was by far the best defense of the three with the 2nd best pass defense and 32nd total defense.  But Michigan was 52nd in pass defense and Michigan State was 85th.

In 2006 though, all three defenses Quinn has faced rank in the top 35 in the country in defense.  The simple fact is Quinn has faced a much harder first three games this year than he did last.  He has put up comparable numbers and is still trying to tweak his game.  Assuming he can do so, like he did last year, is it so far fetched to think that Quinn cannot easily get back into the Heisman hunt? 

It took until Purdue and then USC last year for Quinn to sneak into the picture where he ultimately finished 4th in the voting.  The only caveat is that the three in front of his were all on undefeated teams at the time.  But the sports world loves a good story.  And fans are pundits are forgiving for early trespasses if an athlete responds in the face of adversity. 

Brady and the Irish now travel to East Lansing to face the nations 85th pass defense.  Now is the time for him to make his move as the Irish face a stretch in their schedule which this team should dominate each game.  If Quinn begins to live up to expectations and the Irish are 10-1 heading into their matchup in Los Angeles, as Frank suggested, Brady could win the Heisman during that game. 

The current Heisman frontrunner, Troy Smith, plays his last game on November 18th against Michigan.  But Quinn’s last game is November 25th against Southern Cal.  This gives Quinn an advantage, because his final performance will be fresh in the minds of voters as Smith will have had some time off. 

Should Troy Smith lose a game or Brady Quinn finish strong, it could still be an interesting race for the most prestigious award in sports.

Comments to this Article

  • Patrick commented on September 23rd, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    Are you kidding me? Have you guys been watching Quinn this year? He has the deer in the headlights syndrome – and WE HAVE ONLY PLAYED 3 GAMES!!! I am sitting here watching – wait I just changed the channel – from the debacle we are playing right now. Quinn is not a 1st Round draft choice – you why ask? He can’t survive college defenses – see OSU last year, Georgia Tech this year, and Michigan. What do you think the Steelers, Ravens, Patriots, Cowboys, are any other team will do to him?

    Here is my little vent. I am cheering for 2008 right now. Next year we will suck worse than this year. Give Clausen a year in the system and he will be light years ahead of Quinn. Our defense needs serious work. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a Top 25 team play crappy defense like this 3 out of 4 games. We can’t tackle, we can’t cover, we can’t blitz, we can’ win the battle in the trenches.

    Come on, Charlie! We all thought you were a winner. At least Willingham put a defense on the field that could keep us in the game past half time.

    [Reply]

  • Frank.V commented on September 24th, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    You were saying? Quinn looked like a Heisman candidate in the second half, especially the 4th quarter. This offense needed to get its confidence back and this game might have been the medicine they needed.

    [Reply]

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