After the Stanford game, the Notre Dame message boards understandably lit up with talk of Andrew Hendrix. Some were quick to anoint him the Second Coming. Others did their best Lee Corso impersonation (albeit minus the tight-lip cussing) and said, “Not so fast, my friend.” The rest pretty much did what they always do: said the first inane thing that came to their heads while waxing nostalgically about how Notre Dame would never again be that a shining, beacon-like-yet-jumbotron-free school upon a hill.
But I digress…
Is it reasonable to qualify Hendrix’s second-half success versus the Cardinal as the simple result of a Stanford team that had not practiced for a read-option offense and a QB with wheels? Maybe. Should we question Coach Kelly for not recognizing this systemic weakness of Stanford’s defense given their epic losses to Oregon over the last two years? Hell yes, but that’s a debate for another day. But the idea that Hendrix’s talent should be dismissed because of his mechanics is…well, somewhere between insane and just plain stupid.
Mechanics are a highly overrated commodity at the collegiate level; athleticism and the ability to improvise are much bigger assets. Put it this way, out of the teams currently ranked in the BCS Top 25, who’s the last QB you’d want to face in the red zone with the game on the line? Out of those same teams, who’s the one QB you can safely guarantee will never see an NFL field at QB because he’s a mechanical nightmare? Same answer for both questions: Denard Robinson.
Still unconvinced? Over the last decade college football has seen five QBs with “poor mechanics” grab the national spotlight: Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, Troy Smith, Vince Young and Eric Crouch. Bad throwing motion, accuracy problems, too dependent on his legs to bail him out: it’s a scouting report you could copy and paste under any of these players’ smiling mugs. With all due respect, you can shove that scouting report up your ass and chew on these numbers:
- Four national championships
- Four Heisman trophies (five if you count the one stolen from Vince Young)
- 11 BCS Bowls
There have been 14 BCS National Championships, and a pro-style quarterback has been on the podium of the winning team a grand total of two times (Ken Dorsey in 2001 and Matt Leinart in 2004). If you’re not onboard the Andrew Hendrix Experience—and for the record, I hope Coach Kelly is very much onboard come the bowl game—then at least try to come to the table with something other than, “He’s not what a quarterback should look like.”