Bowl season has concluded, and basketball season is in full swing. But we still have plenty of football to talk about. For the next few months, we will be taking a look back at the 2022 season and reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of each team. With that being said, let’s take a look at the good, bad, and ugly of the quarterback position in the Mountain West.
If Jake Haener was not able to come back and save the day for the Bulldogs, they certainly would have been in a different category. Jake Haener’s improbable return and his ability to lead Fresno State to a Mountain West championship and a bowl victory over Washington State is one of the better stories of the college football season. Next year will be interesting for the Bulldogs. Will Fife or Henderson win the job? Or will UCF transfer Mikey Keane win the job?
The quarterback position was a mess for the Broncos at the beginning of the season. Fourth-year starter Hank Bachmeier struggled mightily and the team was forced to make a change at offensive coordinator. The change led to Hank Bachmeier entering the transfer portal and redshirt freshman Taylen Green taking over the job. Green showed great improvement as the season progressed, and his ability to run the ball added a new threat to the Boise State offense. Green went on to win Freshman of the Year honors, and the future looks bright for the Broncos.
The quarterback position is always really difficult to evaluate. The Falcons want to pass the ball as little as possible. When they do, they want it to result in big plays. Haaziq Daniels has been an excellent quarterback for Air Force. He commands the offense and clearly has the respect of his peers. He wasn’t quite as explosive as in past seasons, but his timely runs and decent passing ability make him the perfect quarterback for the Falcon offense. It will be interesting to see what the future has in store for Daniels as he enters the transfer portal for his final year of eligibility.
San Jose State
The Spartans were able to find a very talented quarterback through the transfer portal with former Hawaii quarterback Chevan Cordeiro. Cordeiro was the most consistent quarterback over the course of the entire season, and his ability to use his legs added a new dimension to the San Jose State offense. With another year of eligibility still remaining, big things are expected of Cordeiro and the Spartan offense in 2023.
The Aggies had high expectations entering the 2022 season after winning the Mountain West in 2021. Logan Bonner struggled mightily before suffering a season-ending injury. Bonner was replaced by Cooper Legas who also battled injuries throughout the season. Legas had mixed results over the course of the season. It will be interesting to see how the Aggies approach the quarterback position in 2023.
Clay Millen was slotted to be the next great quarterback in the Mountain West. Millen was a highly touted recruit that followed head coach Jay Norvell from Reno to Fort Collins. Millen, like many other Mountain West quarterbacks, battled injuries over the course of the season. While he had an impressive completion percentage, he struggled to move the ball downfield. This resulted in the Rams having one of the worst scoring offenses in the Mountain West. Millen is still the quarterback of the future for the Rams, but he will need to make major strides in 2023.
San Diego State
Aztec fans were very excited leading into the 2022 season; they thought they finally had a quarterback with Virginia Tech transfer Braxton Burmeister. Burmeister struggled from the opening snap and also dealt with injuries over the course of the season. After transfers and additional injuries, the Aztecs were forced to move former quarterback Jalen Mayden from the secondary back to the quarterback position. The Aztec offense improved a ton under Mayden, who was a good passer and a great runner. Mayden will likely be the starter in 2023, but he will need to clean up the turnover issues that plagued him late in the season.
Injuries, injuries, injuries. It is a theme with the quarterback position in the Mountain West this year. Dou Brumfield had the best start of the season for any quarterback in the Mountain West. The Rebels started the season strong but completely fell apart when Brumfield was injured. Brumfield was able to return late in the season and had hopes of leading the Rebels to a bowl game, but he wasn’t the same quarterback. Will Brumfield be able to regain his early 2022 form with a new coaching staff? Only time will tell.
A tale as old as time. The Cowboys are a good team that is one quarterback away from being great. Former Utah State quarterback Andrew Peasley won the starting job for the Cowboys. Peasley had some success but was mostly inconsistent. He had only one game where he passed for more than 200 yards. The Cowboys have landed some solid quarterbacks in their last two recruiting classes. Will they roll with Peasley again in 2023, or will one of the young quarterbacks get their time to shine?
Hawaii was one of the few teams in the conference that had consistency at the quarterback position with Brayden Schager. Schager improved over the course of the season but was wildly inconsistent for the most part. Schager completed only 55% of his passes, and his touchdown to interception ratio was not what you wanted in a starting quarterback. Maybe Schager will be more comfortable next year as coach Timmy Chang looks to transition to a more traditional air raid offense.
New Mexico far and away had the worst passing offense in the Mountain West. They started three different quarterbacks over the course of the season and all three had more interceptions than touchdowns. Where this offense goes, I don’t know. But if the Lobos have any hope of improving, they will need to throw for more than 1,259 yards and three touchdowns.
The Wolf Pack started the year with Nate Cox at the quarterback position. Cox was very inaccurate and struggled to get the Nevada offense moving. Cox was eventually replaced by transfer Shane Illingworth. Illingworth also struggled but seemed to show more potential for growth than Cox. Where the Wolf Pack go at the quarterback position is uncertain, but they will need to get better at the skill positions to give their quarterback a chance.
What are your expectations for quarterbacks in the Mountain West heading into 2023? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.