Thursday, December 11, 2008

Getting to know Chase Daniel

Missouri's fearsome offense is run through its quarterback Chase Daniel. Daniel is fourth in the country with 4,135 yards passing, sixth in touchdowns with 37, and second only to the mighty Colt McCoy by completing 74% of his passes. And he does this by having a name that could have landed him an honorable mention on the list of this season's best lacrosse names.

Stevenson lacrosse middie
Holts Scoven prepares to
dominate the opposition
on the field of play.
Incidentally, according to
Wikipedia, in early lacrosse
"Passing the ball was thought
of as a trick, and it was seen
as cowardly to dodge an opponent."

The Alamo Bowl will be the senior's last college game. After that, the question becomes whether or not his skills in Missouri's spread offense will translate to the NFL game, or whether he will become just another great college quarterback who cannot make the leap to the next level.

College career passing record holder Timmy Chang
prepares to unleash the fucking fury. Chang never
made it in the NFL, although he apparently is playing
for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Incidentally, Chang
lit up Northwestern and ended their Motor City Bowl
hopes when they played in 2004. The 'Cats were winning
handily when they made the mistake of late-hitting
Chang into a steel bench, after which Chang led his
legion of inspired Polynesians on an aerial rampage
through the Wildcat secondary. The Saskatchewan
Roughriders should take the precaution of removing all
benches from the sidelines and preventing Chang from
exposure to gamma rays or zombie rage viruses.

Macolm Gladwell has an excellent article on Chase Daniel in The New Yorker about the phenomenon of trying to guess how college quarterbacks transition to the pros mixed with an analysis of how to evaluate good teachers. Another article that touches on the theme of college QBs transitioning to the pros is Michael Lewis's piece for the New York Times Magazine on Eli Manning. The Gladwell article confirms what we all know about selecting a quarterback in the draft: GMs and scouts might as well fill a cauldron up with sal mirabilis, regulus martis, purified mercury, distilled rain water, mercurial water, red tincture, potable gold, aurum potabile, red sulphur, rectified spirit, green liquor, sal ammoniac, aqua fortis, distilled vinegar, and red oil in order to predict a quarterback's success. This is a scientifically precise method because all of these words came up as key terms on the Amazon page for the book How To Prepare Alchemical Formulas From The Writings Of Famous Alchemists along with the terms "excellent medicine," "wind furnace," and "glass retort."

A glass retort

The arcane science involved with attempting to select a quarterback seems fairly futile, but I find the search for NFL quarterbacks fascinating for some reason.

Be the first kid on your block to find Moses Moreno

Sports Illustrated this week has an article on the success of rookie quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, first-round draft picks that apparently have worked out, especially Ryan. Still, the process for finding a quarterback resembles prospecting, and not the industrial kind that likely typified most mining operations, but the type that focuses on panning and the three Bs of grizzledness (Buckskin, Beard, and Blunderbuss), while battling the elements, predatory birds, and industrious Chinese prospectors who had gotten there first. Only instead of fools' gold, you draft a quarterback who inspires films celebrating his astounding combination of incompetence and boorishness.

Chase Daniel is not a Matt Ryan or a Joe Flacco. He will probably not be drafted high, and will have an uphill climb to get a shot at playing time. He may not have the NFL career of a Brett Basanez or even a Zak Kustok (who memorably joined the Bears from the CBOT floor), but he's a great college quarterback, and Northwestern will have a tough time stopping him in San Antonio. The Alamo Bowl may well be Chase Daniel's last big game, although maybe things will work out and there is a Grey Cup in his future if Timmy Chang becomes so infuriated that he goes on a shirt-ripping frenzy that requires an entire team of Winnipeg handlers to subdue him and Henry Burris and Brad Banks are unavailable.

Your move, Chang

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