As Brent Key moves into his first season as the head coach, he has one, among several, important decisions to make that will ultimately determine how good of a head coach he will be. Perhaps the most important at this particular juncture is who will start at quarterback this season. Let’s break down the candidates for the job.
When Jeff Sims announced his decision to enter the transfer portal, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Zach Pyron would slot into the starting job at quarterback. And that makes a lot of sense.
He played in just three games last season, starting two, but performed admirably for a true freshman. With Pyron at the pass (pun fully intended), Georgia Tech’s offense looked functional! His season totals saw him complete nearly 60% of his passes for 565 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. His most complete game came against Virginia Tech. Between his passing and rushing numbers, he went for over 300 yards and two touchdowns.
For a true freshman quarterback, I think these highlights are super impressive! Even from the first play, you see a very heads-up play from Pyron. As the pocket breaks down, he steps up to avoid pressure while keeping his eyes downfield. As he comes up to the line, he doesn’t see a pass, so he goes for the rush. Although he didn’t slide like he should have, this is still a super heads-up play. Of Georgia Tech’s quarterbacks last season, he was the only one to finish with a positive EPA (0.53).
Unfortunately, Pyron went down with a collarbone injury, so although he was able to preserve his redshirt, he was not able to gain that valuable experience from the rest of the season.
Pyron continued to impress during Georgia Tech’s spring game this year, passing for 150 yards and a touchdown.
Now, aside from Pyron, Texas A&M transfer Haynes King is the other major player at quarterback. Like Pyron, King is a former four-star recruit. After dealing with an injury and losing his starting job, King decided to transfer and ultimately settled on Georgia Tech.
King is an interesting guy to me because I think he is definitely a guy who should benefit from a change of scenery. His issue was always trying to rush plays and making mistakes, which we saw a little bit in the Spring game.
When he first committed, I found this video that gave a lot of background about King, so I wanted to share that here.
King was expected to be the future at quarterback for A&M, but he just never stuck there. I think part of it comes from a development aspect. At Georgia Tech, he will be able to work with Chris Weinke and Buster Faulkner, and I firmly believe they will be able to bring out the best. As the Spring game showed, he still has a ways to go, but I think it’s perfectly conceivable that he will win the starting job.
I know what you’re thinking. How can you talk about a guy who ran out of bounds to end the game against Virginia as a guy who could potentially start at quarterback when there are better options?
First, apologies for dredging up that horrible memory that you probably had blocked. Secondly, I think Gibson is a really good dark horse option at quarterback for Georgia Tech.
Zach Gibson has two primary faults: (1) he is a sitting duck in the pocket, and (2) he takes way too long to throw the [Steely Dan] ball. However, when Gibson gets time to throw and is decisive, he delivers nothing but strikes.
In the spring game, Gibson clearly shows himself as the No. 3 option, but still played well, completing 7 of his 12 passes for 106 yards and no touchdowns.
So who will be the starting quarterback?
I believe there is a case for each of these guys to win the starting job. Although I feel inclined to say that of course, Pyron will be the guy, I can’t say that he definitely will. Both King and Gibson bring a solid amount of potential and consistency. It will be interesting to see how this battle plays out in the Fall. If I were a betting man, I would probably bet that Pyron will still be the guy.
Who do you see getting the starting job at QB this season?