Alex Brink sits at the top of the WSU record book in career passing yards and touchdowns. He also holds a couple dozen other official game, season or career records, and one very important unofficial record -- wins over Washington.
Yet, if we were to make a list of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in school history, Brink probably would have a tough time cracking the top 10. He spent the first two years of his career holding off rocket-armed Josh Swogger, and had Brink been on the team last year, he probably would have ranked behind both Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday in terms of physical tools.
The guy knows a thing or two about what it means to use the tools you've got in order to be the best quarterback you can be, something Halliday -- the presumed 2013 starter -- has yet to master.
Brink jumped on the air a little while back with fellow Cougs Ian Furness and Jason Puckett on Sportsradio KJR in Seattle a couple of weeks ago, and when Furness asked him what Halliday needs to do better, Brink didn't hesitate:
He's got to be a better manager of the game. ... They're not a good enough team for him to just go out and take chances and try and make every throw he wants to make. He's got to manage the game to a certain point that they're in position,you know, down 7, down 3. Now all of a sudden that big play comes up and he can use his physical abilities to make the big play to win the game or tie it up or whatever, as opposed to trying to make that play early in the game, throw a pick, now they're down 14, 21 early on, and then his physical ability is just a moot point.
Personally, I found this comment fascinating. Not so much the observation that Halliday has a propensity to push the envelope -- we all already know that -- but in Brink's use of the term "manage the game."
Typically, calling a quarterback a "game manager" is fairly insulting, implying an inability to play the position at the highest level. However, I think the context here makes sense: The margin for error is smaller for WSU because of the talent disparity, so it's important that the quarterback not exacerbate the situation by making high-risk throws that can backfire. It's a similar but different take on the "just make the throws the defense gives you" we've been harping on since UNLV.
Additionally, the implication is clear: This isn't a talent issue, it's a mindset issue. Do you buy that?
The entire interview is embedded below, and it's worth a listen -- his comments on whether Tim Tebow could play in the CFL (where Brink has spent the past few years) are fun.