If there was any doubt on the matter, Coach Steve Sarkisian squashed it in a press conference this morning, saying that Keith Price will continue to be the starting quarterback. However, Sark did acknowledge the fact that his junior signal-caller is going through a period of significant struggles.
That probably isn’t news to anyone reading this, but just in case watching the 52-17 loss to Arizona on Saturday wasn’t depressing enough, lets just recap exactly how much worse Price’s 2012 campaign has been as compared to his 2011, his debut season as a starter. As of today, Price has thrown for 1336 yards with 60.1% accuracy. That puts him on pace for regular season totals of 2290 yards with, you guessed it, 60.1% accuracy. Compared to a 2011 total of 3063 yards, that is abysmal. A decline of nearly a third of his production.
As far as touchdowns, Price has thrown eight scores to go along with eight picks. That puts him on pace for season totals of, if we round up slightly, 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. An even ratio. Last year, he threw 33 touchdowns to go with 11 picks. A three to one ratio. That is a startling decline. I don’t know if this is as simple as Price trying to do too much, or not quite trusting his coach, as Sark has repeatedly mentioned, but if is really intangible mental issues like that making the difference between 33 touchdowns and 14 touchdowns, I am frightened by the inconsistency.
All that aside, keeping Price as a starter is a no brainer, at least right now. There is no indication that Derick Brown is ready to start for this team, and he almost certainly wouldn’t be an immediate upgrade over Price, even with his current struggles. Cyler Miles, the third string quarterback, is a true freshman. It would be foolish to throw him to the wolves, and it would waste a year of his eligibility. Perhaps if Price really starts to fall apart, and, say, throw four or five picks against the Beavers this Saturday, a switch is worth considering, but for now the fact that Price is still somewhat serviceable means that bringing in a backup probably wouldn’t help anything. For now, just hope Price somehow rediscovers the magic.