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Bailey Hockman will likely have a much shorter runway to prove himself

No pressure for your first start

North Carolina State v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Three-way QB battles are weird. As the saying goes, if you have two quarterbacks then you have none. Well, what happens when you have three? You end up in the situation that Dave Doeren and staff currently find them in.

As I said in the last group chat, I understand at least conceptually what Doeren was attempting to do with hanging in there with Matt McKay as long as he did. I think we can see what he saw with Hockman. He can make good throws, but can also make some risky throws. His strategy was to hope Matt would ramp UP to making the good throws, instead of starting with Hockman and needing to ramp him down. In the FSU game, if Hockman throws some shoulda-been picks, the game is blown way out.

No knock against Matt McKay, thank you for all your hard work and dedication. The problem becomes then, what happens when that strategy doesn’t pan out? You have now devoted almost 4.5 games to one guy who just doesn’t look like he’s going to turn the corner, unfortunately.

I think that bit of luck with those passes that very easily could have been intercepted are what is securing Hockman’s place as the new Wolfpack starter. Look, it is well worn news that Dave Doeren absolutely hates turnovers. Hockman kept many plays alive with his feet, which was great, but on several occasions in his attempt to make a play he would try to put the ball where it ought not to go (poor choice of words I know). If one or two of those goes the other way, we would have seen Devin Leary much sooner than we did, which was more due to Hockman getting dinged up.

Bailey Hockman will not be afforded the same luxury that Matt McKay got. He will have to learn on the job much quicker. Not just because the team is into the meat of the conference schedule, but also because Devin Leary is now breathing down his neck. In the event that Leary ended up taking over at QB, it would be hard not to wonder about what the coaches thought process was with bringing Hockman in in the first place. Leary was redshirting, Ty Evans and Finley the younger are right around the corner. That’s a lot of quarterbacks.

If you were going to give a long runway to your next QB, providing those reps early and often was the thought. It has been said many times on the site since then they could have done that while still giving the other guys some snaps. But Doeren doesn’t rock like that, once he picks his guy then for the most part that is his guy. Right now, it’s Bailey Hockman, he has the reins until he doesn’t. The difference being Doeren has already said that Leary will see action against Syracuse. This means Hockman needs to show up and produce right away, or this might be his one and only start. I mean, people are making signs and everything:

I don’t think Doeren cares about people’s signs, if he’s even aware of the chatter happening outside. I do think he’ll ultimately make the best decision for the team. That being said, I honestly don’t know which direction the QB situation will go. You could make a good case for either and I could see it happening. Also if you said nothing gets resolved for another month then I’d believe that too, so I really don’t know. The most plausible scenario is that both guys play well, but continue to reveal more behind what Doeren and staff were seeing in camp and practice. The decision may seem obvious to you when you saw Leary throw those 4 passes. I mean, did you see that tight spiral, come on. But when you peel back the onion, it shows that it’s not always a clear cut decision.

So whether his runway is indeed shortened or not, I would assume he would mentally make that approach. I personally don’t have a vested interest in one or the other being the guy, I’m just hoping for first downs. Touchdowns would be nice too.