“The heartbeat of a football team is the quarterback position, and I think everyone who has any intelligence about the game understands you must have consistency at that position to be a championship team.”
This is the response that Ron Jaworski, the legendary quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles and commentator for “Monday Night Football,” gave to a question asking how vital the quarterback position is. Simply put, without a good quarterback, a football team cannot reach its full potential.
Lucky enough for the 2010 Hoyas, the quarterback position has been the strength of the team thanks to junior Scott Darby. Darby split time with sophomore Isaiah Kempf last season, but won the starting job in the preseason and has not looked back. Through four games this year, Darby has led the Hoyas to a 3-1 record while amassing 833 passing yards with an impressive 6:1 touchdown to interception ratio, all of which has added up for two separate Patriot League offensive player of the week honors. Just don’t tell him about the recognition he is receiving.
“I am not interested in individual attention whatsoever,” says the 6-foot-3 native of Tewksbury, Mass. “My sole interest is doing everything I can do to help the team each week get closer to a Patriot League title.”
Darby is not the type of passer who sits in the pocket and picks apart the defense. Eminently reliable through the air, he is also more than capable of taking the ball into his own hands and running. In four games, he has 200 rushing yards, including 98 in Saturday’s homecoming victory over reigning Patriot League champions Holy Cross.
“This offense gives me a lot of freedom to run,” Darby says. “It is part of the scheme. When I run the ball it can be one of three things: a designed quarterback run, an option with the running back or a scramble when a pass play breaks down.”
All three scenarios happen often in this offense, and as a result Darby leads the team with 55 rushing attempts. It is a rarity in college football when a quarterback leads the team in carries, but it just goes to show how important Darby is to the Blue and Gray. Of the 281 offensive snaps so far this season, Darby has had the ball in his hands, whether by pass or by rush, an astonishing 71 percent of the time. With the offense running so much through one player, the game often comes down to Darby’s shoulders.
“I wouldn’t say that there is any extra pressure,” Darby says. “The best part about playing this position is knowing that there are 10 other guys counting on you.”
It is not just the players that rely on him, however. The coaches entrust their quarterback with the ability to change plays on the fly, and in a sense, run his own offense.
“Coach [Dave Patenaude] sets up the play, but they always have a built-in check where I can alter the play given certain defensive looks,” Darby explains.
Depending on the way the defense lines up, it is Darby’s job to adjust the offense, in order to expose any holes in the defense. It is a lot of responsibility for one player, which is exactly why the quarterback position is the most important position in football. It seems like an overwhelming task for a 21-year-old, but he claims it does not get to him.
“My best attribute is staying calm,” Darby says. “I need to lead by example and just keep everybody focused.”
At the start of the season, a Patriot League title may have seemed like a distant dream for most of the Georgetown faithful. However, with Darby’s consistent play at the quarterback position, a championship may be possible this season.