Before we even got the chance to spend two days wringing our hands about Artur Sitkowski and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights offense in 2019, Chris Ash goes out and nabs a quarterback from...well, an unexpected place.
McLane Carter, a graduate transfer from Texas Tech, decided not to play second fiddle at Tech and instead...play second fiddle at Rutgers?
Maybe first fiddle? We don’t know, and we asked our writers to try and work through it.
OTE Rapid Reaction
ZuzuRU: He’s gonna be another Kyle Bolin. Desperation, hype, and zero results.
WhiteSpeedReceiver: Without some massive improvement from the OL, I don’t see how adding a guy who got hurt and never recovered his starting job last year will help. I mean, outside of giving Sitkowski a mentor and potentially some relief from everyone throwing everything at him.
Thumpasaurus: A big 12 quarterback who got hurt and never got his starting job back? Wooooooo Wes Lunt up in here!
Ray Ransom: Foolish optimist checking in.
The QB situation is guaranteed to be better this year, one way or another. Sophomore Sitkowski > Frosh Sitkowski. Grad Transfer with upside > Frosh Sitkowski.
Plus we’re criminally underrating the impact of a second consecutive year in the same offensive system. The first time since—I believe 1869?—for Dear Old Rutgers.
WSR: Counterpoint to the Sitkowski optimism: he’s a Jerry Kill QB recruit and therefore will be crap in the P5.
While we love our writers, too, we wanted to get the opinion from a Texas Tech Red Raiders fan of exactly what to expect from the oft-injured signal-caller. Our friends at Viva the Matadors, the SBNation home of Texas Tech fans, were happy to help out. Thanks to Mike Macon, going by mikemacon23 at VtM and on Twitter, for answering our questions!
OTE: What’s best-case McLane Carter?
mikemacon23: Best case scenario is Carter is consistent, and doesn’t hurt you.
Carter lacks a Division 1 arm in my opinion, but Tech fans saw a glimpse of what he could have been against Ole Miss. The offense looked like it was humming along just fine, maybe not explosive but consistent and efficient. Then, of course, he goes down, and we never got the see if he could sustain it.
He’s mobile enough, and can hit his targets so yeah, a little more than a game manager is the best case to me.
OTE: What’s worst-case McLane Carter? -- Feel free to be as graphic as you’d like; it’s more fun for us this way.
mikemacon23: Worst case is a season of his abysmal showing in Austin.
I think we can chalk that up to nerves being thrust into a critical game as a first time starter, but all the bad Carter brings was apparent. His arm just is not very strong, he looked panicky and didn’t execute his reads, and worst of all he kept thinking he had more arm than he did and threw up dead ducks.
Like I said, his arm is not D1 caliber—so if he isn’t compensating with smart play, it goes south fast.
Really I think you get somewhere in between these two Carters. He’s going to try things he doesn’t have the arm for, but the majority of the time I think he can keep you in games. He won’t win them for you, but he’s balanced. And if his ankle healed up right, he can make a little ground game happen.
OTE: Ultimately, what do you think Rutgers is getting out of this (and what’s the reaction from Texas Tech fans)?
mikemacon23: Rutgers gets depth at QB, someone to challenge a starter that really struggled. I think Carter can win the starting job or he wouldn’t be going to Rutgers. He won’t break scoreboards, but if you need a stabilizing force and some experience at a high level he’s your man.
Tech fans are mixed on this—he’s a great kid who wasn’t going to play barring an injury to Alan Bowman. He damn near played on one leg against Baylor, desperately trying to get his team to bowl eligibility when the entire QB room went down.
So on that note, we are ecstatic that he’s following his dream of being a starter at a new school. On the other hand, we are bummed our QB depth is being hit hard with transfers and so on, and just last year we saw the dangers of that.
Overall though, I’ve never watched Rutgers play football unless I want them to beat Ohio State but I’ll watch to root for Carter.
I offered him a beer if Northwestern and Tech ever meet again in the Ticket City Bowl. His gracious response:
I am quite confident we will be in the Idaho French Fry Bowl sponsored by Jim’s Hunting Supply one day together.