With due respect to two guys that were more from “my era”, Norman Greene and Mike Dingle, our starting quarterback entering the 2008 season came to mind first.
Tommy Beecher came out of high school with basically no star rating and exactly two scholarship offers, South Carolina and Richmond. We were told Steve Spurrier liked his skills, and to Beecher’s credit he did have quite a remarkable high school career. But Richmond? Something seemed amiss.
Beecher redshirted in ’05, then threw it around a little in some mop-up duty in ’06 and ’07. Then, against seemingly long odds, in ’08 he was named the starter heading into the NC State game after a close battle with Chris Smelley.
The NC State game was a nightmare for Beecher. He was pounded by the State defense from the get-go, and his confidence melted away before our eyes. Even watching on television, you could see in his body language he wanted to be somewhere else. Somewhere safe, away from the screaming fans and national television audience.
Before coming out in the third quarter, he had thrown for a little over 100 yards, but had thrown four interceptions. You don’t throw four interceptions in a little over two quarters and remain Steve Spurrier’s quarterback. You just don’t.
Chris Smelley strolled in and promptly took the starter’s job that night. By the end of the season, Beecher, the former starting quarterback at the University of South Carolina, was running the scout team. After the team’s bowl game he was “encouraged” to continue his career elsewhere.
Beecher transferred to Liberty for his senior season and won the starting job there. He started the first game in a big time environment against West Virginia in Morgantown and played well. In looking at Liberty stats from last year, it appears Beecher had a very nice final season with the Flames.