Sunday, November 8, 2009

Brian Kelly: Maker Of Quarterbacks

You know it's a topsy turvy college football world when the best college football team in Michigan is in Mount Pleasant, when the best football team in Ohio is an hour south of Columbus and when the best football team in California is in the middle of Oregon.

But this isn't so much about that.

What this is about is the genius of Brian Kelly.

I only sometimes toot my own horn (that sounds like a euphemism) but one of those sometimeses is when the subject of Kelly comes up. I've been pimping him since he resurrected Grand Valley St. and turned them into the most successful college football program in the country. Something happened yesterday though that made me view Kelly in an entirely new light.

Zach Collaros happened.

So what is a Zach Collaros? That, dear reader, is an excellent question. I'll admit that I didn't know the kid from a grape either until last night, despite two outstanding starts in place of Tony Pike. In three starts he has now passed for 1028 yards while completing a modest 80% of his passes. Oh yeah, he is also 8/0 TD/INT in those starts. His passer rating in those games is 218. By comparison, the current NCAA leader is Kellen Moore out of Boise St. at a shade under 170. Tony Pike, the man he replaced, is 10th at 155.

Now in fairness, Collaros hasn't faced the stiffest of competition. Of the three teams he's started against only UConn has a shot at a bowl game. All Collaros did was save his best for them passing for 480 yards. In school annals only the immortal Greg Cook ever put up a bigger number.

And oh yeah, Collaros? He's a sophomore.

But back to Kelly. Here, in his third coaching stop, a pattern is really starting to emerge. The man is flat out a passing game genius. With GVSU he had two quarterbacks who were finalists for the Harlan Hill, including Curt Anes twice. Anes' 2001 team averaged 600 yards/game offense. With Central Michigan he recruited Dan LeFevour and turned him into a top NFL prospect. Taking over Cincinnati he plucked Pike off of the injury list and in a single year transformed him from 'decent college QB' to 'arguably the best QB prospect'.

While I'm sure Pike's injuries will knock him back down, the performance of Collaros simply cements Kelly's genius. No one will ever confuse Collaros for an NFL prospect. He is small and slight, and all he does is complete passes. In a way, the success of Collaros should throw up warning signs for NFL scouts who are looking at LeFevour or Pike who now seem much more like system quarterbacks than naturally gifted.

But who knows? Maybe Kelly (and longtime QB coach/confidante Greg Forest) do have the gift of turning good college QBs into elite NFL-caliber talents.


  1. Wait – *THE* Greg Cook?

    And Curt Anes, hmm.

  2. I mentioned Cook just for you.!_W0QQitemZ320446084551QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ20091108?IMSfp=TL091108186003r6127

  3. Tony Pike, Tim Tebow or Jacory'd be interesting to see the lines on who'll be the better NFL QB, and what the results are in 2019.



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