What TCU’s Casey Pachall and Matt Leinart Have in Common


When Casey Pachall plays his first game as TCU‘s starting quarterback in 2011, everyone will be comparing his performance to Andy Dalton. Dalton is and always will be a legend in Fort Worth, and Pachall has the unenviable job of trying to replace him.

Pachall will not be able to escape the comparisons to Dalton, and while he tries to establish his own legacy, he should embrace the foundation laid by Dalton over the past four seasons.

In recent college football history, legendary quarterbacks have seen their predecessors have both resounding success and disappointing years.

Casey Pachall’s situation is most comparable to former USC quarterback Matt Leinart. Leinart succeeded Trojan great Carson Palmer who saw his program grow from perennial mediocrity to Orange Bowl champs in 2002 after an 11-2 season.

Carson Palmer came to USC in 1998, and the Trojans went 8-5 as Palmer split time with Mike Van Raaphorst. By Palmer’s senior year, he was a Heisman trophy winner and a consensus All-American who led the Trojans to a BCS bowl victory.

Matt Leinart took over for Palmer as the program was growing, and he had a 37-2 record as a starter for the Trojans. TCU’s program is growing currently like the Trojans in the early 2000’s, and Pachall is following a legend just as Leinart did. Obviously if Pachall has anywhere near the success of Leinart, Gary Patterson’s Frogs will had the most successful 5 year runs in college football history.

Let’s take a look at

several other quarterbacks who followed legends at their respective schools.

We will start in 1998 when Tee Martin took over at the University of Tennessee for Peyton Manning. After Manning lost his 1997 bowl game to Nebraska which lost TN a share of the National Championship and after Manning finished 2nd in the Heisman after throwing for over 3800 yards, Martin surprisingly took Tennessee to the pinnacle of college football. Tennessee won the National Championship that year and Martin threw for over 2,300 yards and set the Tennessee record for consecutive completions to start a game vs. South Carolina that season. Martin was obviously unbothered by the ghosts of quarterbacks past.

Current Florida quarterback John Brantley followed the legendary career of Tim Tebow, and he struggled in his first season as the Gators starting quarterback. Brantley was sacked 22 times and threw for just 9 TD compared to 10 INT. A 7-5 regular season was a disappointment, and Urban Meyer retired because of it.

Current Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert has struggled even more than Brantley at Florida. Gilbert is following Colt McCoy who was a model of consistency while in Austin. As Texas had their first losing season in the Mac Brown era, Gilbert struggled all season long and finished with 10 TD to go along with 17 INT. Gilbert’s struggles began when he replaced an injured Colt McCoy in the National Championship game. Gilbert was plagued by turnovers in that game and that was a sign of things to come in 2010 for Mac Brown and the Longhorns.

As a final example, we will examine another success. Landry Jones led the Sooners to Sun Bowl and Fiesta Bowl victories over the past season after replacing Sam Bradford who was selected #1 in the NFL draft the season before. In his first season as the starter, Jones threw for 3,200 yards in 2009 and threw for 26 TD. That season the Sooners defeated the Stanford Cardinal 31-27 in the Sun Bowl.

And last season…well Sam Bradford was out of sight and out of mind for Sooners fans as Landry Jones threw for 4,700 yards. Jones threw for 38 touchdowns, and Oklahoma’s offensive attack was one of the most fierce in college football. Jones, like Tee Martin at Tennessee, embraced the foundation that Bradford laid at Oklahoma.

Pachall will need blaze his own trail in 2011, and how he will adapt to playing in Dalton’s shadow will be crucial to the legacy that Pachall will eventually make for himself at TCU.

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