Spring practice begins this week so we will breakdown each position group as we gear up for football season. Note: We will not guess on what impact freshmen who are not on campus yet will have on the team.
Position Coach: Travis Trickett
Key departures: Cade Fortin
Key returnees: Timmy McClain (Nine starts), Katravis Marsh (one)
Key additions: Byrum Brown, Gunnar Smith (will arrive in the fall.)
The most important position on the field saw some changes and controversy last season as North Carolina transfer Cade Fortin was announced the starter at NC State before being pulled for true freshman Timmy McClain in the second half. The QB carousel began as all three scholarship QB’s saw game action through three games before McClain was named the starter for good as chants of #TimmyTime and #LetHimCook were heard in Raymond James Stadium.
With Cade Fortin transferring to Arkansas and Katravis Marsh returning after a brief stint in the portal, is the QB job Timmy’s to lose, or will OC Travis Trickett see what both can bring to the table? Will early enrollee Byrum Brown challenge for a spot on the 2-deep? Jeff Scott says all positions are open for competition, but Timmy has shown enough to flashes and excitement to carry over into 2022.
McClain ended the season starting nine games and playing in 11 total throwing for 1,888 yards with a 55% completion percentage averaging 7.2 yards per attempt. He also threw 5 TD’s with 7 interceptions to end the year with a 116.8 QB rating. Where Timmy shined was in his elusiveness - reminding fans of another signal-caller that wore the no. 9 uniform - by extending plays and compiling 238 rushing yards on 123 attempts and four TD’s (those stats include sacks.) That’s good for fourth on the team in rushing yards and second in rushing TD’s.
The biggest key for Timmy’s success may be in new QB coach and offensive coordinator Travis Trickett. Relying too much on the zone read may have stalled out the offense in key moments of the game, simplifying these calls could be the solution to a higher success rate.
The offense will look to improve on scoring only 23.2 points per game, 278 total points, and only 35 total TD’s. Third down efficiency will also need to improve as they converted only 34% of their third downs and were ranked 94th in offensive SP+.
Katravis Marsh enters his third season on the roster playing in four games and starting one at ECU in relief of McClain. He went 15-30 with 192 yards and a TD, but his three interceptions sealed the loss for the Bulls in a rainy evening in Greenville.
Byrum Brown was a finalist for North Carolina’s Mr. Football awards in a season where he passed for 3,703 yards and 43 touchdowns leading Rolesville High to the Class 4A State Semifinals.
Did Marsh come back to Tampa because his options were limited, or did Jeff Scott assure him that it’ll be an open competition for the starting job?
Regardless of who’s named QB1, for the love of God don’t make an entire week about it just to yank the guy after a half to restart the QB carousel that hasn’t stopped since 2017. We’re all a bit motion-sick.