Brian Bell is entering his final year of eligibility at Sam Houston and his credentials are outstanding. With a great senior year, he has the potential to hold most major statistical categories for a QB at Sam Houston. And he is clearly going to be starting next year under center.
The question is not whether Brian Bell is the right choice to start next year for Sam Houston football. The question is whether he can lead us to a national championship. He has come close, leading the football team to two consecutive national championship appearances. But as most coaches will tell you, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
But if you delve deeper into the stats and aspects of Brian Bells game, it becomes a little harder to argue that he will lead Sam Houston back to the title game and actually win the big one during his senior year.
Bell has done a great job of improving his game each year. As a freshman, he was limited in what the coaches would allow him to do. As a sophomore the playbook was opened up and Bell became a better decision-maker and more accurate passer as a result. In his junior year he became even better, putting up more touchdowns.
But there is one thing lacking from his game: the deep ball. Anyone who has watched a Sam Houston football game knows that Brian Bell does not typically throw the nicest deep ball. Too often they float much longer than a football should before being caught and the receiver must slow down his route in order to catch the football. Those who were around to watch the Cal Poly playoff game this year watched Brian Bell throw two deep passes to wide open receivers. Both times the ball floated so long that the receiver had to slow down, and nearly stop their route in order to catch the ball. Both times if Bell had thrown a better deep ball, it would have resulted in easy touchdowns. As of right now, Brian Bell simply does not have the arm strength to throw it deep and be the consistent threat that you would normally expect from a four year starter at QB. He threw only 5 passes over 40 yards during the 2012 season.
The other problem lies with the running game. It is evident that when the running game struggles, Brian Bell struggles. In four games dating back to the 2011 FCS championship game, when Tim Flanders rushed for less than 100 yards, Brian Bell averaged less than 150 passing yards. Brian Bell has had trouble showing that he can win a game with his arm alone. For most of the season that isnt a problem. But in the playoffs, when he faces top defenses, Bell has struggled.
Brian Bell is a very good quarterback but it takes a great one to win a national championship. Right now he is not a great QB. He can become one by next year but first he must fix the issues that have plagued him. He must improve his deep ball and he must show he can win a game with his arm alone.