At the 2011 Spring Game, people were looking for some electricity out of high profile recruit, Jamal Turner. Kenny Bell had generated some buzz from teammates as well and both were playing a position in which the door is wide open for someone, anyone to step up and show playmaking ability. Or at least the ability to catch footballs thrown right at them.
But Carnes, while not exactly anonymous, was being considered a bit of an afterthought at QB behind Taylor Martinez and Cody Green. For that matter, Bubba Starling was getting more chatter as the best possibility to come in and shake things up.
But after the spring game, it's Carnes who has the fans buzzing and the coaches and sportwriters trying to convince us that it was Martinez and Green hampered by the offense but Carnes operating with a wide open playbook against waterboys in pads, nothing to see here.
So which is it?
First off, I have a good feeling about this kid and said so last year after we signed him. I thought he was the real deal then and nothing that happened in the spring game changes that opinion. Yes, I know the game conditions, playbook and opposition were far from those in a real game. But I also know that Martinez still has accuracy and release issues and that, while I absolutely love the kid as a person, I just don't see Cody Green ever improving his decision-making speed to the point that I trust him as a starter.
I'm not going so far out on the limb as to guarantee Carnes will start in 2011. Let's just say I don't think his spring game performance was a fluke and wouldn't be surprised if the rumors start to leak out in August that he's getting snaps with the top unit, much as they did last year with Martinez.
Just for fun, set aside a few minutes and check some his highlights from his senior season at Bradenton Manatee:
There are some release issues as he goes into the windup a bit on deeper throws in the pocket, but they didn't seem as pronounced this spring. However, he is calm in the pocket or on the roll and is patient enough check through multiple receivers even after being flushed. He will tuck it and run, but generally it's in response to an opening and not a reaction to pressure or the initial receiver being covered. He has good arm strength and throws accurately on the run.
Also, note the plays and formations he's running. I know we haven't truly seen Beck's offense, but this sure appears resemble what Beck and his players have been describing, doesn't it? (Not sure if Manatee ran any no huddle)
As a four year starter at Manatee, it could be argued that he's been running some form of our new spread for the last five years including the scout team in 2010. Also, Manatee competes in Florida's Class 5A, considered one of the big three talent hotbeds along with Cali and Texas. Like California's Martinez last year, making the jump to the stage in Lincoln wouldn't be as daunting for him as it might be for others.
For those who believe in the power of bloodlines, Carnes is Tommie Frazier's cousin. I'm not sure if athletes can be bred like Miz Chenery bred Secretariat, but for those folks who are, I'd only urge caution before they get the urge to shell big bucks on some Ted Williams DNA. Keep in mind this is the same sludge from whence came the douchebag son who put him on ice in the 1st place.
Quaterbacks, however, might be the exception and I offer the Mannings, the Simms, the Montanas, and the Bootys (Booties?) as examples, so we'll see. And I do know that I'm only talking about a decent level of success with these guys, not a CFB Hall of Fame lock. But I'll stick by my earlier pick that he's going to start for Nebraska someday.
Does anyone think it's happening this year?