People like me always like coaches like Mickey Matthews. He always has something to say and you always need to watch his press conference, because you never want to miss a gem. I spent four years covering this guy, so Matthews has a lot to live up to.
But this week he said that Liberty's Mike Brown was "The Best Quarterback in the State". Now, that's a statement that needs a little investigation.
In case you don't pay attention to Big South athletics, Brown is the two-time reigning offensive player in the conference. He's also on his third year as a captain. Brown started as a Percy Harvin-type guy - returning kicks, playing receiver, doing a little wildcat, etc. A big reason for that was because his sophomore year, Liberty brought in Tommy Beecher, a transfer quarterback from South Carolina. In 2009, Brown still threw for over 400 yards, ran for over 400 yards, and had almost 700 yards receiving.
In 2010, Brown became the full-time quarterback, and he was incredible. The Charlottesville native threw for 2,956 yards, and ran for 909 yards - so just a few plays away from being a 3,000/1,000 guy. He threw for 23 TDs, ran for 9 more, and threw 11 interceptions.
Through two games, he's struggled a little - his completion percentage is just 57%, and he's thrown 3 picks to 3 interceptions.
So, how does he compare with the other QB's in state?
UVA - Michael Rocco has been decent - completion percentage in the 60's - but he hasn't thrown a TD yet, and hasn't thrown for over 200 yards in a game yet. Certainly, he's not better than Mike Brown.
Virginia Tech - Logan Thomas has thrown for only 240 yards in two games, and his completion percentage is well below 50%. When you factor in that he has one of the best receiving corps in the history of Hokie football, he certainly hasn't proven that he's even close to being as good as Mike Brown.
Richmond - Aaron Corp is a pro prospect, and as a Parade All-American and former USC Trojan, he has a great pedigree. He's thrown for over 1,000 yards in 7 games with the Spiders, and was everything they needed in a leader in the 23-21 win over Duke. But, he has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in his short career, and has a completion percentage of 54%. When you throw in Brown's running ability, Corp loses this battle.
William & Mary - Mike Paulus was very efficient last season, and looked great against his former team North Carolina. He has struggled to start 2011 though. I expect him to get much better as the season goes along, but right now, he's not nearly the type of quarterback Brown is.
The others: Old Dominion's Thomas DeMarco has looked great this year, but against subpar opponents. Hampton's David LeGree is a returning starter, and is a pretty decent QB, but he still threw for 1,000 yards less than Brown did last year. And if your own coach thinks that Brown is better than you, that's not saying much for JMU's Justin Thorpe.