Bryant Shirreffs, Sudden Necessity

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The most compelling storyline so far this season has been the necessity of Bryant Shirreffs at quarterback. Here's this unheralded kid who picked up an offer late, decided against going to an Ivy League school, ended up strewn about the depth chart before landing at fullback, and then went back to quarterback because of Brandon Mitchell's injury.

That's an odd career path, to say the least, and he's just getting started. State was caught off guard by Mitchell's injury, and there wasn't much for Shirreffs to do after being forced into action unexpectedly, frustrating though that might have felt at the time. The good news: the experience he's gotten means a ton on this side of the development curve, and the playbook is ever-so-gradually widening. Dave Doeren on Shirreffs:

"He only had like three plays that he could run last week, now he might have five or six. He's getting more and more confident. He's starting to see things better in the run game and the different passes he can do off the runs have gotten a lot better."

Those plays last week included some lateral throws. Against Louisiana Tech he didn't throw the ball once. So now that we're a bit deeper into the playbook, what does that mean? I think we can expect him to look down field for a pass or two Thursday, at minimum. He also might step into a phone booth and become Superman, but that's only a rumor at this point.

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