clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

FAU Is Struggling At Quarterback, But Daniel Parr Is Not The Answer... Yet

With Jaquez Johnson hampered by ankle injuries and Jason Driskel struggling to lead the offense, some are calling for Charlie Partridge to take the redshirt off of Daniel Parr. Stop.

Don't listen to em' coach, think about the future.
Don't listen to em' coach, think about the future.
Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the season Florida Atlantic was set at quarterback. Two-year starter Jaquez Johnson appeared poised to lead a dynamic offense in his senior season and third year into offensive coordinator Brian Wright's offense.

Before Fall camp started backup quarterback Greg Hankerson transferred, but no worries, redshirt freshman Jason Driskel looked good enough in the Spring Game to keep Owl fans from worrying that if Johnson were to go down the offense would become a tire fire.

Prized recruit Daniel Parr - who had offers from Minnesota and Marshall among others, AND refrained from flipping to Miami (FL.) on National Signing Day - would have a year to develop and thus redshirt, paving the way to be FAU's future starting quarterback.

What a difference a few months can make.

Jonson's season has been derailed by nagging ankle injuries as the senior has started three games this year. He's thrown for 667 yards, with four touchdowns and two interceptions while adding 98 yards and one touchdown on the ground.

Due to his limited mobility he has not looked like the great dual-threat quarterback FAU fans saw in the opener against Tulsa when he rushed for 97 yards and passed for 263 yards and two touchdowns.

In his two starts since his return from the ankle injury suffered against Miami (FL.), Johnson finished both games with negative rushing yards.

Johnson's biggest asset was his ability to keep opposing defense's honest due to his ability to keep plays alive with his feet, while also being relied upon by Wright to convert in the red-zone and in short yardage situations due to his 6'1, 240 pound bowling ball frame.

In Johnson's absence, Jason Driskel has been unable to keep the offense afloat.

Given the circumstances, Driskel performed admirably coming off the bench against the Hurricanes so I give him a pass for that performance.

But other than that, Driskel has not looked good. He's thrown four interceptions, two touchdowns for a team-high 743 passing yards this season.

In his two starts against Buffalo and last week against Marshall, Driskel was unable to stretch the field vertically. Whether that's the play calling - which is a a whole other issue - or Driskel's lack of arm strength, its clear that the offense is very limited with him at quarterback.

In six games this season - including defensive touchdowns scored against Marshall and Charlotte - FAU is averaging 23 points per game with these two running the offense this year.

With all of that said, please do not start Daniel Parr.

With Johnson's impending graduation, barring any surprises, the quarterback position will be between Parr and Driskel in 2016. I've seen enough from Driskel to know Parr will win the battle and be the starting quarterback next season.

Apparently next season is starting to become now.

Parr has started to see his reps increase during practice over the past couple of weeks due to Johnson's injury and Driskel's play on offense, which is leading some to believe that Parr may make his debut this week against UTEP if Johnson is unable to play.

In the Spring Game, Parr made headlines in his debut in front of Owl fans. He showcased his ability to stretch the field vertically, and displayed good pocket awareness. All traits FAU is severely lacking from the quarterback position right now.

But inserting Parr into this tire fire would be a mistake.

The offensive line is sketchy at best, the rushing attack has not given any hints of consistency - something a young quarterback definitely would need - and more importantly, he would not save the season.

Jaquez Johnson deserves the right, if healthy, to start every game at quarterback for the remainder of the year. He's been a leader throughout his time in Boca Raton. As a senior he deserves to finish out his career as a starter. Not on the bench.

If he's unable to go then trot Driskel out there. Maybe he will improve with more game experience.

I have no doubt that Parr would be an upgrade over Driskel.

But don't start Parr.

The only plausible reason for Partridge to start Daniel Parr this week against UTEP is if Parr starts every game for the remainder of the season because Johnson is out for the year with an ankle injury.

Since Partridge has become head coach he has talked about setting a foundation for the future.

Next year, in what will be a critical season for Partridge, that foundation will be in place as the team will be fully in his mold of what he wants the football program to be.

Parr is the future of FAU football. Burning his redshirt to try and salvage a 1-5 season would be criminal.