Grant Hedrick is not winning any popularity contests this week in the city of Boise. A ghastly four-interception performance versus a mediocre Mountain West team will do that to anyone.
Coach Bryan Harsin stated after the Air Force debacle that Hedrick was the starting quarterback, but will watch film before making any decisions. Ryan Finley certainly is the exciting option, as most backup quarterbacks tend to be. Coach Harsin will probably not tip his hand before playing dangerous Mountain West Conference foe Nevada and will likely make a game time decision. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of whether Grant Hedrick should start this Saturday or not.
PRO: Hedrick is a senior.
Certainly being a senior is a positive. Hedrick has quite a bit of experience in comparison to redshirt freshman Finley. Hedrick is roommates with Matt Miller and has been in the program for 5 years now. Despite his throwing miscues, Hedrick has shown a firm grasp of the playbook and has Coach Harsin and Coach Sanford’s trust. Finley on the other hand, has played one quarter of football and one kneel down versus Louisiana Lafayette.
CON: Hedrick has played poorly in big games on the road.
Since Grant Hedrick has taken over as starter his wins include at Colorado State, Wyoming, and New Mexico last season and Colorado State, at Connecticut, and Louisiana Lafayette this year. His losses include at BYU, at San Diego State, Oregon State (bowl game in Hawaii) last season and at Ole Miss and at Air Force this season. If you look at those two groups and had to place where at Nevada this week will be, it will probably go in the latter group. Certainly you cannot blame a win or loss at one player, but Hedrick threw 11 interceptions in those losses and did not play particularly well in any of those games.
PRO: Hedrick can run and is a dual threat QB.
Hedrick has wheels, there is no doubting that. Hedrick has 543 yards on the ground since his freshman year and 11 rushing touchdowns. This year Hedrick has 164 yards with a 3.0 yards per carry average and 1 touchdown. Grant Hedrick’s coming out party took place last season against Nevada at home when he took off for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground.
CON: Turnovers lose games
Hedrick has not been careful with the football. In that game versus Nevada last season, Hedrick threw no touchdowns versus one interception. Hedrick has 14 interceptions in 12 games and as mentioned before most of these have come in big time games. Grant Hedrick ranks 68th among college quarterbacks with a 133.11 quarterback rating and 54th in yards per attempt. Hedrick is 3rd in the country in interceptions thrown.
No matter what happens, Grant Hedrick will not go down as one of the great Boise State quarterbacks, but for the Nevada game, it comes down to the best quarterback option that Boise State has. Ryan Finley did lead Boise State to 2 touchdown drives, but also threw an interception against Air Force. Other than that, there is not much tape on Finley other than the Spring and Fall scrimmage.
Hedrick has played well in the past and is a leader of this team. Against a hostile Nevada crowd, and tough defense going with the dual threat senior quarterback, this might be the best option that Coach Harsin and Coach Sanford have available. One thing is certain, if Hedrick does start, Coach Harsin must be willing to pull him a lot earlier than he did against Air Force if things go badly.
Verdict: Grant Hedrick should start with a short leash.
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