I realize Jeff Tuel's knee isn't exactly a person, but since Michael is still on his honeymoon, you'll have to deal with me. Last week we talked about how Tuel needed to put up gaudy video game stats to make everyone feel better. That didn't really happen, as he was 20/26 for 171 yards and 2 TDs. While the Cougars were still victorious over the Eagles of Eastern Washington, Tuel didn't exactly light the world on fire. He showed a better grasp of the offense in comparison to Week 1 vs. BYU, but he still looked timid at times.
Then he got hurt.
While a large portion of the fanbase is clamoring for Connor Halliday, I still believe Tuel gives this team the best chance to win. How his knee holds up will determine quite a bit, and not just for the game this Friday. Mike Leach is notoriously silent on injuries, so we really won't know anything until right before game time.
If you haven't read Brian's piece from this morning, I'd recommend doing so. In it, he talks about how it's not just Jeff Tuel who needs to acclimate himself to this new offense, but also the wide receivers. I think, fairly or not, we place all the responsibility on the QB. Sometimes a receiver runs the wrong route. Sometimes the receiver isn't doing enough to get open. Sometimes the line isn't blocking long enough for the play to fully develop. Sometimes Tuel makes the wrong read or a bad throw. A lot can happen in a very short time, and that can lead to an incompletion.
I don't want to turn this into a "let's debate QBs again!" post because, ugh. No one likes those. We have to hear about how Halliday's arm strength is just so amazing and he's oozing with potential while Tuel is too scared and holds the ball too long. It's funny, we all assume Leach knows what he's doing, but when he chose Tuel as the starter, the fanbase was split on whether that was the right call. I think we all need to Pump the Breaks™. It's been TWO GAMES. Let's all take a deep breath and relax a bit.
If Tuel's knee is good to go, he should statistically have a very good game against a bad Rebels defense. Heck, last year Marshall Lobbastael threw for 361 yards and 5 TDs. If Tuel's knee isn't 100%, I'd expect Halliday to step up and have a good game, as well. For the sake of my sanity, however, I hope Tuel throws for 600 yards and 6 TDs.