Coming into the fall, as everyone knows by now, the Cowboys had little to no clue how the quarterback race would shape up. That race developed into the biggest surprise of fall camp as Brett Smith quickly distinguished himself from his competition and earned the starting position. Last Saturday Smith showed the Cowboy faithful why he won the job. In his first collegiate appearance Smith posted the 2nd most passing yards in the Dave Christensen era (the most yards in a single game by a Christensen QB thus far is 308). Oh, and he commanded the offense on an impressive game winning drive all the while showing incredible poise under pressure.
When analyzing the performance of a quarterback stats only take one so far and thus I offer up the following qualitative analysis.
Smith threw one interception on Saturday night, on his first pass and on a ball that appeared to just slip from his hand. After the interception Smith’s confidence did not falter and he completed his next two passes to move the Cowboys inside the 5 yard line setting himself up for a running touchdown to tie the game. Smith’s poise was apparent throughout the game and did not escape him during the Cowboys’ time of need at the end of the 4th quarter. This type of confidence is not something that can be coached but something that will serve Smith well throughout his collegiate career with the Pokes. To borrow every sports writer’s favorite word, Smith displayed moxy.
As a passer Smith looked comfortable, if a little eager at times. Smith remained calm in the pocket and extended multiple plays with his legs while taking only two sacks. Outside of the lone interception in which the Weber player was the only person near the ball, Smith did not throw balls up for grabs. Smith’s accuracy can certainly improve and he missed a few open receivers downfield, but there is little more that you can ask a freshman to do in his first collegiate game.
After only one game any kind of blanket statements about the quality of a player, or of an entire unit are unwise. However, when looking at the first game in the career of a freshman quarterback the assumption is that improvement is on the way and if that is the case then the Cowboys may have found themselves a perfect quarterback. When Dave Christensen came to Laramie he brought with him a potent offensive attack. Cowboy fans have yet to see that on a consistent basis, but Smith may bring Christensen’s promise of points and yards to fruition.