Friday, August 28, 2009

Here are some words that rhyme with Cory: Gory…story…allegory…starting QB…

Lisa Simpson likes all things Corey/Cory, so she's quite pleased with Dave Cohen's choice of starting quarterback.

Turns out Cory Christopher’s days as the Flying Dutchmen’s starting quarterback didn’t end when he suffered a season-ending hip injury against Maine last October. Hofstra coach Dave Cohen announced Thursday that Christopher won the starting job over sophomore Steve  Probst, who ended last season as the starter, and redshirt freshman Joe Sidaris.

(Parenthetical aside: This is the fun part of being a fan of a I-AA school—you don’t get a coach treating the identity of his starting QB as if it’s the meaning of life. You don’t get a coach going all smug and arrogant and insisting he’s going to play all three of his QBs.)

Probst seemed to be the choice of Dutch Nation, but I liked what I saw out of Christopher last season. He wasn’t the flashiest signal-caller, he looks more like a tight end and he didn’t, to borrow a Tom Pecora phrase, fill up the stat sheet in resounding fashion, but he did a pretty good job of inheriting the starting job at literally the last minute and generating some sparks for an offense decimated by injury.

The Dutchmen scored 40 points in three of Christopher’s seven starts. The two teams that held Hofstra without a touchdown with Christopher at the helm won a bowl game (UConn) and ended the regular season as the top-ranked team in I-AA (James Madison).

Most impressively, Christopher marched the Dutchmen down the field in the final minute in consecutive weeks against Albany and Rhode Island to put them in position to kick a tying or winning field goal.  He seemed to have whatever “it” is that allows a player to perform better as the game gets closer.

That said, with the Dutchmen doomed for a rebuilding season, it felt as if Christopher was a place-holder, a Steve DeBerg-type who absorbs some punishment for the good of the team before handing the baton off to the future of the program. With Cohen hoping to redshirt Probst as well, Christopher would have taken every snap last year if he didn’t get hurt, so it seemed as if the future arrived the moment Probst stepped on to the field in Maine.

Perhaps, as has been bandied about on the CAAZone boards, Christopher winning the job will allow Cohen to keep one eye on subsequent seasons by redshirting Probst, which would allow him to enter next year with two highly touted sophomores vying for the job.

But the future is here for the Dutchmen, who need much more than a temp at quarterback in a season in which they are being greeted—internally as well as externally—with great expectations. Whatever “it” is, Cohen clearly expects to see a lot of it this year out of Christopher.

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