With 7:44 to play in a 34-3 game with a 2-5 record inevitable, Mike White played as a true freshman, becoming the Bulls fourth quarterback in 2013. What the hell is the plan here?
This is less horrible than what Skip Holtz did to Bobby Eveld last year, where a 3-6 coach justified burning a redshirt on a kid in a game where any rational person knew they were going to get slaughtered. Finding out if White is any good gives you more information on next season, though we might look upon this with serious regret in 2017 if we no longer have a capable quarterback. But still... we're 2-5 and this season seems to be going nowhere. Is it fair to ask a kid that's sat that long to burn a year of eligibility now? And what if he gets hurt, then what do we do?
And does this mean Matt Floyd should just get a job on campus? Floyd's fall from being named starter and captain during training camp all the way to getting redshirts burned in front of him is incredibly precipitous. Does he transfer? Does he stay here and try and win the job back? What the heck happens now?
The commitment of Quinton Flowers this week is probably just one piece of the future USF quarterback puzzle. We would guess they'd be after at least one more QB, and most likely a junior college guy that could step in and play immediately. Finding out what you have in White makes sense for all these reasons... but if he was good enough, why wasn't he playing before? And if comes in and plays really well, how does that affect recruiting? Remember Flowers already decommitted once before, and might not want to come into a situation with an established sophomore starter.
There are no good answers here. The USF quarterback situation has been complete EPIC FAIL for over a year now and there are no good options, merely less bad ones. White's first game as a starter comes on a short week to prepare for a nationally televised game on Halloween that literally dozens of people that aren't Bulls fans, Cougars fans, or degenerate gamblers will be watching. It's certainly not ideal, but you have to overcome adversity at some point as a quarterback.
The AAC is on the whole a terrible football league this year. There's Louisville, UCF, maybe Rutgers on a good day, and everyone else falls between mediocre to woof. But there's one silver lining here: Matt Grothe came in as a (edit: redshirt) freshman right after Pat Julmiste got hurt against FIU in a far-too-close game in 2006. He then guided USF to a victory over C. Florida the following week, beat #7 West Virginia on the road to cap that season, and the rest was history. Sometimes playing a true freshman works out.
It's a tall order to ask White to win four of the last five games to get the Bulls bowl eligible, as even if he's Drew Brees back there the talent surrounding him (especially without Marcus Shaw) might not be enough to win. We argued that USF was pretty lucky to beat UConn, and yesterday certainly didn't look like a team that improved too much over the last 14 days. Playing White reeks of desperation and not having a plan, but also gives an opportunity to see what you have. And if doesn't work out as a quarterback, maybe we'll see White playing for Lelo Prado in the Spring. He's a helluva pitcher already, and this five game audition might help him decide what path is best for him.
But here's our only caveat: If you take the redshirt off the kid, barring injury he better be the starter the rest of the way. Otherwise it's just not fair to him, and the lack of stability at this position is also becoming part of the problem.