Bigger Impact: Gunner Kiel vs. Mike White
After a season of change and adjustments, Cincinnati and South Florida both will be looking to go into the 2014 season at full stream as they make a dart for the American Athletic Conference championship.
The Bearcats and Bulls will be under second-year coaches and new starting quarterbacks, Gunner Kiel with Cincinnati and Mike White with South Florida.
Both players will enter their second season with tremendous experience. But who will make the bigger impact?
The Case For Gunner Kiel
Coming out of high school, Gunner Kiel was an All-American quarterback, an Indiana Mr. Football Award winner, and the top quarterback recruit, according to Rivals.com. He signed with Notre Dame, but after getting buried in the depth chart, he transferred to Cincinnati.
Kiel hasn’t played a down of college football, but has had a lot of practice reps with the Bearcats offense. He also brings along his 4,831 passing yards and 61 touchdowns as a starter in high school.
Plus, Kiel shows a lot of potential to get the Cincinnati offense going, especially after it stalled on several occasions late in the 2013 season.
He’s a mobile quarterback who can escape when the pocket begins to collapse. Not only does Kiel like to run, but also enjoys lowering his shoulder pads and running over defenders. That gets fellow teammates hyped when they see the quarterback running over tacklers.
If the Bearcats offensive line gives Kiel time, he will make all his reads to find the open receiver. Plus, he’s got strong footwork, taking good read steps and stepping up in the pocket when it is required.
And Kiel has shown much promise in his ability to get the ball downfield. With weapons like Shaq Washington and Chris Moore, Cincinnati is looking to have a good air attack this fall.
The Case For Mike White
Mike White is itching for a win. After getting the call to start the last five games of the season, White wasn’t able to get South Florida a win. The Bulls lost their last six games to finish 2-10.
Despite a disappointing three touchdowns and nine interceptions to end the season, White did show he can play college football and showed sparks of elite play.
He has a strong arm and can get the ball downfield in a hurry. That’s good news for South Florida fans, especially with the return of Andre Davis, the team’s leading wide receiver.
White has one of the fast releases in college football and makes his reads very quick. In his freshman year, White was only throwing the ball to his first read, which is normal for first-year quarterbacks. But if he’s a little bit more patient, White can show off that strong arm of his.
And now that head coach Willie Taggart has a feel for what he’s working with, South Florida should finally be able to get the passing game going. The Bulls averaged about 166 passing yards per game, including just seven touchdowns the whole year.
With this kind of quarterback, there’s no way the South Florida passing game will be worse.
Playing in high school and college is a whole another world. What happened in 12th grade doesn’t mean anything once that letter of intent is signed. Kiel had a better high school career than White, but the Florida-born product has a lot more experience.
The difference in the speed between practice and game is a large margin. It’s almost impossible to recreate. So while Kiel may have had more practice, White’s game snaps dominate that.
White will have a bigger impact on the Bulls this season because he knows what it's like to be out there with 60,000 fans screaming at you.
Plus, with Taggart getting a feel for what White is like in games, he can make the right adjustments to make him that much better. Tommy Tuberville has no idea what Kiel will do once he’s in the game.