There is an answer to the quarterback “dilemma” at Notre Dame- and it’s staring at us right in the face.
It’s the shadowy pall that hangs over the program.
It’s the enormous elephant sprawled out, taking up most of the floor in the room.
It’s the massive burden weighing on the shoulders of every man, woman, and child who utters the words “Beat SC” every fall.
A QB controversy is never something people (in this case, Notre Dame-inclined people) look forward to when it comes to their favorite college football team. Sure, it can be exciting and dramatic to watch as a couple talented kids battle it out to earn the lead role in the Fighting Irish offense. And yes, I’m sure any coach would admit that having two or more highly capable quarterbacks beats the hell out of having zero such players.
But as an old football adage for which I could not find the original source says, “If you have two starting quarterbacks, you don’t have one.” That’s the strait jacket that the Notre Dame football program is currently wearing, hindered tremendously by the lack of a clear-cut offensive leader between candidates DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire.
So, here I am, an amateur professional football expert here to mollify all of Irish fans’ pain and worry with the definitive, fool-proof, 100%-correct answer to the question, “Who should start at quarterback for the Notre Dame football team in 2016?”
Proponents of experience will clamor “Kizer is our man!” Fans of intangibles and leadership and awarding the original winner of the 2015 QB derby will scream out “Malik 4 President!” People who follow recruiting rankings much closer than they do the actual ND team will pathetically exclaim, “Brandon Wimbush? More like Brandon Win-bush! Am I right?!?”
All of these people and their very realistic quotes are incorrect. The one true starting quarterback who should be handed the keys to Brian Kelly’s 2001 Buick LeSabre of an offense (this is not an insult, I drive this exact car and it is still cruising along productively) has unparalleled statistics, a powerful name brand, and impressive hair on his list of credentials.
Yes, of course, I’m saying that Montgomery VanGorder (or just Monty, as my friends and I call him) should start at quarterback for ND in 2016. Let’s discuss.
Monty’s Production Is Second-to-None
Let’s take a look at the Coors Light cold-hard facts of this situation. In the tables below, I’ve compiled all four quarterbacks’ stats from 2015 (Music City Bowl, Blue Gold Game, 2015 regular season) and 2016 (Fiesta Bowl, Blue Gold Game) and summarized them in the passing (first table) and rushing (second table) categories:
Let’s talk shop about passing first, because that is obviously the primary responsibility and defining characteristic of a quarterback. If you look at the stats, The player with the highest completion percentage, sitting at a cool 80%, is Monty VanGorder. That’s an astronomical completion percentage, roughly 18% better than Kizer and Zaire and also roughly 10% higher than the best career mark in college football history, set by Hawaii’s Colt Brennan. MVG is literally on pace to be the most efficient QB of all-time when it comes to completing passes. That is pretty decent.
But how about other passing stats? Because completing passes doesn’t necessarily put points on the board, any knowledgeable football fanatic would want to see more. Welp, check out yards per attempt, where Monty is tied with Zaire for tops on the team at 9.3. That’s pretty impressive. Moving further along, Monty is tied for first in interceptions with 0, as well as for TDs thrown per interception ratio, a stat for which he has achieved the coveted “#DIV/0!” (a perfect score).
His TDs per attempt stat is fantastic, with a touchdown coming on 1 of every 10 passes he attempts, once again leading the group. If ND were to start MVG and have him throw 100 times per game, there would be no opposing offense on earth who could match that kind of scoring proclivity, and the Irish would certainly win every game in a blowout.
Rounding out the table, Monty is tied with Zaire for best on the team in TDs per completion, meaning 13% of the passes he completes (which, let me remind you, are 80% of what he attempts) go for touchdowns. That’s just stupendous firepower right there, and I can’t see any defense being able to stop him.
In terms of rushing, Monty again clearly holds his own, as can be seen below:
Now, some of you might be calling out that Monty only leads in one of these categories. What about the other ones?
That’s what I’m about to explain, so calm down.
Carries is a stat that anyone can collect, and yards are just a function of how many carries a player gets and how good his line is. Yards per carry can be misleading as well, considering Wimbush’s huge number is certainly a direct result of his 58-yard touchdown run and not necessarily an indicator of his being able to gain that much on each carry. Furthermore, TDs are really another volume stat. The more carries a player gets, the more TDs he is likely to have.
The final stat in the table, though, is really key. It measures how efficient each player is in terms of scoring when it comes to the carries he gets. And as you can see, no quarterback on the Fighting Irish is better at scoring with the ball in his hands than Monty VanGorder. He literally scores a rushing touchdown every FOUR times he tucks it and runs! That’s an incredible stat that has to have NFL scouts drooling over his potential.
So, in looking at the science behind quarterbacking, it’s pretty clear that Monty VG is the apparent leader. But football isn’t just about stats, as any terrible NFL analyst on ESPN will tell you. Intangibles and heart and moxie all matter, too. So, let’s look at what else Monty brings to the table besides his plentiful production on the field.
His #Brand is Strong
Aside from the hard statistics, let’s take a step back and talk about Monty’s personal #brand. His name, on its own, is phenomenal. “Montgomery VanGorder” sounds like the heir to a stuffy oil tycoon’s fortune or possibly a world-class golfer who lays claim to many visors and sweater vests in his arsenal of attire. And yet you look at pictures of the kid, and he seems incredibly approachable. Just look at him tossing a thumbs up to a buddy in the picture to the right. This kid is an every-man and we all can relate to him, despite his spectacularly fancy name.
Furthermore, his name is significant for another reason – it means he is Brian VanGorder’s son. And what do we know about Brian VanGorder? Well, we know he has always had impressive facial hair. We know he turns down for what. We know he can throw a football a quarter-mile and toss it over them mountains.
Monty is the offspring of that man. Meaning he has all the same talents and mustache/goatee-growing abilities. This is huge for his brand, as we know he will one day assume the role of a VanGorder dad, barking orders at players and reminiscing on when his team (ND) should have played him so that they could have won “state” AKA the national championship. This only adds to the mystique and allure of Montgomery VanGorder as starting QB at Notre Dame.
His Twitter presence is obviously another important reason for him to earn this job. Monty currently has roughly 1600 followers on Twitter, a pretty impressive figure for a walk-on and fourth-string guy. Plus, I scrolled through his tweets for a short while and found the following one, cementing him as an emotionally complex and fantastic human being (because The Office is amazing and I’ve seen the series finale like 20 times).
Also, he’s a trendsetter. He leads instead of following. That’s what you want out of your offensive field general. He clearly provides that leadership both on AND off the field:
He just “gets it.”
A final, bonus addition to Monty’s out-of-this-world brand: his pranking prowess.
You have to love the gall and testicular fortitude he showed as a fourth-string QB to prank call the new QB coach like that. A+ effort and execution. Play this man now, Coach Sanford.
His Hair Is Pretty Good
Also, does that remind you of anyone else with fantastic hair?
It appears it runs in the family, again confirming Monty’s future mustache power. And we all know how important a strong mustache game is for quarterbacking success…
Him Starting Would Shield the Other QBs From Harm
We’ve already seen Malik Zaire break his ankle and we’ve witnessed DeShone Kizer take plenty of hits both in the pocket and on the run. Brandon Wimbush is still just a rising sophomore trying to put on some muscle in a college training program, so you have to be wary of his brittle nature, no matter how strong of a runner he is.
Thus, how do we protect our talented QBs from major injury and preserve them for the future?
We sit them.
On the sideline, they will be free to safely learn more about the offense from watching Monty do his thing, and send in plenty of funny hand signals while wearing red hats. Talk about fun!
Monty, meanwhile, is a walk-on. Let him do the dirty work on the field, and use his highly efficient scoring abilities (as referenced above) both on the ground and through the air to take fewer hits and score more touchdowns. It’s a win-win for Brian Kelly, and the Irish keep all of their most talented QBs healthy for more important times, like the NFL draft.
It just makes sense.
This Is The Conclusion
So, as you can now see, Monty VanGorder is simply the right and only choice for Notre Dame at starting quarterback. He is statistically the best choice, is easily the most marketable considering his funny name and crazy father and ability to pull classic phone pranks, has the hair for the job (and the potential to have the facial hair for the job), and will be able to protect the other quarterbacks from grave and serious danger on the gridiron. Plus, there are rumors he may take over as starting holder for field goals, which would be another sign that he is just more competitive and talented than all other players competing for the starting QB gig.
So, Irish fans, rest easy knowing that there is one obvious option for starting quarterback in 2016, and consider this controversy a thing of the past. Monty VG is the future of ND football, and stands poised to march the team to victory on the back of his unbelievable potential for greatness.