Mallet, Locker and Luck: Elite competitors who must respond
The third week of college football was one of “Little Giants” (the name of Michigan State’s fake field goal against Notre Dame), blowout victories (Alabama, Ohio State, Boise State, TCU and Oregon) and breakout wins (Arizona over Iowa) but above all else it proved to us that each week teams and players create moments where they are challenged to either surpass those previous performances or respond from dismal ones the following week. And in the arena of college football, the competitors we watch every Saturday yearn for the challenge of maintaining success or responding to adversity. Three games into 2010, three stud quarterbacks are facing those challenges.
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallet threw for 380 yards and led the Razorbacks on the game-winning drive at Georgia with fifteen seconds remaining to get his first road win as a starter. While he is the talk of the nation right now, his performance this weekend against Alabama has a chance to cement him as a Heisman candidate and move his team into the national title race.
Mallet’s goal: Play aggressive vs Alabama while playing within Bobby Petrino’s system. If he does that, he will prove he is worthy of being considered one of the nations elite signal callers.
Jake Locker, a Heisman candidate and potential number one draft choice had one of his worst games going 4-20 for 71 yards and two interceptions in a blowout home loss to Nebraska. While Husky fans around the nation are shocked, rivals are calling his pre-season hype just that, and experts are telling us how much his draft stock has fallen, I’ll disagree.
Look for Locker to respond with more efficient play, more accurate passes and a competitive spirit that vaults him back into the national discussion by the end of the season.
Locker’s goal: Compete to win each snap by letting the offense flow through him instead of being forced by him.
Stanford’s rock-star Andrew Luck is coming off a 5-touchdown performance against Wake Forest in Palo Alto last Saturday night. His squad is 3-0 and with Locker’s recent struggles and the Pac-10 being wide open, the next three weeks are vital for him as he tries to maintain his high level of play at Notre Dame, at Oregon and home against USC.
Luck’s goal: Elevate his performance in big games by allowing the progression of each play to dictate where his passes go instead of forcing the ball on the national stage.
Mallet, Locker and Luck have to either maintain their level of play, respond from a poor performance or elevate their game.
Look for all three young men to respond as only elite performers can, because what great quarterbacks do can be summed up in a single word—compete.