Saturday, March 11, 2006

Where Can He Find "It"?

I don't watch a lot of TV, but I did recently see a commercial saying whatever "it" is, you could find it on a popular online auction site. I was reminded that some quarterbacks seem to have "it", and some don't. The question is, can you get "it" when you don't have "it" to begin with?

Most people would agree that Jim McMahon had "it". Same for Steve Young, Ty Detmer, and Brandon Doman. Brandon Doman won games many others wouldn't have--the aforementioned three excluded, of course--including the last game of LaVell Edwards' final season, against Utah. He essentially told his team they weren't going to lose, and got them to join with him to make improbable plays to pull the game out. He also did what was necessary to win the game at New Mexico the following year when Luke Staley was out, including scrambling for the first down on fourth-and-11.

It's true that regardless of how good one player is, or whether he has "it", he can't do it all, and will not win every game. But an example of a game that very likely would have been won by Doman was this last year's game against Utah. BYU had the ball with a chance to go up by a field goal or a touchdown toward the end of the game, and John Beck couldn't do what was necessary to put points on the board. Any points likely would have won the game, but no points meant overtime at best. He had a second chance with more pressure in overtime after Utah had scored, and, as we know, was no more successful with that opportunity. I frankly am not as concerned about not being able to match Utah's score in overtime. More telling to me is that he did not have "it" when the pressure was not as great, and he also had the chance to put the pressure on the opponent with a short clock in regulation.

After the Utah game, Beck mentioned something that he had touched on before, and that is that the difference between success and failure can be minute, with a slightly high trajectory on a pass possibly being the difference in a game, for instance. Surely being a top quarterback is not something that just anybody can achieve. Yet few would argue that Beck doesn't have the physical tools, or even the desire. So why is it that someone like Brandon Doman or Ty Detmer, who admittedly didn't have all the physical tools, were so often successful when it counted?

Brandon Doman was hired as a coach precisely to help BYU's quarterbacks with the intangibles. So far, I can't tell a difference with John Beck. Beck had mixed results before Doman coached him, and he's had mixed results since. Does that mean "it" cannot be coached? If Beck is going to become a great college quarterback, he has no more than this coming year to show it. I sincerely hope he will become great, and that Doman is able to impart "it", because not only will that be important to BYU football, it will also be important to John Beck personally and career-wise, and I'd like to see him succeed.