After hearing his name assured as the winner of the QB competition, Munchie Legaux admitted he walked with a different stride. He stretched a wider smile.
"I did," he said. "I walked with my chest up, little bit more chin up. I am the guy now, no more peeking over."
The Bearcats walk with same confidence wondering what "the guy" can bring. Without doubt, it will be something different.
Legaux's dual-threat capability brings an extra dimension to the UC offensive attack. in the recent run of UC QBs, none owned the pure breakaway speed of Legaux.
Ben Mauk, Gino Guidugli, Tony Pike. Nobody confused them with RGIII. Zach Collaros would be considered an above-average scrambler and utilized excellent vision on the zone-read, but Legaux would leave him in the dust in a footrace. Of course, from Legaux's perspective, the same would be the case for the majority of the teammates he'll throw to this season.
"I'd be top three," he said of a hypothetical 40-yard dash with his receivers.
In the game of quarterbacking, the phrase dual-threat can be viewed as a dirty word. The assumed ceiling for dual-threat QBs stretches across the senior year. Sure, the NFL accepts dual-threat quarterbacks -- they turn all but a select few into receivers. Coming out of high school, these prospects are tossed into the pocket passer/dual-threat categories but some are more defined by the moniker than others.
Legaux won't accept any label.
"I view myself as a quarterback," he said. "I wouldn't say I'm a dual threat, I wouldn't say I'm a pro style because I'm in the spread offense. If we played in a pro-style offense, I'd play a pro style. If we played the triple option, I'd play the triple option, whatever they need me to do, I'll do. But, I'm a quarterback.
"I am going to go through my progressions, read the defense. If nothing is there then I am going to run. If we have a designed run then I am going to use my legs. They can say I'm a dual threat, I'm a run first, whatever they want to say but at heart I'm a quarterback and I'm going to use my arm first and my legs second."
Finding a balance between run and pass will be a dynamic worth watching with Legaux and go a long way to defining the effectiveness of this offense. He showed during his four-game stint with the Bearcats at the end of last season how his legs can break down a defense.
The question becomes what type of production should be realistically expected out of Legaux?
For a place to start, let's look at the top dual-threat quarterbacks returning to college football this season and the numbers they put up last year. A few like Michigan's Denard Robinson and Kansas State's Collin Klein don't allow an accurate representation because of the shear quantity of runs. By all accounts of what we witnessed last year from Legaux, it would be unrealistic to expect him to run as much as he passes.
In fact, if you extrapolate out his numbers from the four games at the end of the season, they play out like this:
Average per game: 27.3 pass attempts for 172 yards; 8.2 rushes for 36.8 yards.
Full season: 354 attempts for 2,236 yards; 107 rushes for 477.8 yards.
Keep in mind college statistics are compiled differently than the pros. In college, sacks of the quarterback are deducted from the rushing totals. Hence, why some of the rush yards per game numbers seem skewed to below what would be expected.
If Legaux were to wind up among the top dual-threat quarterbacks who still do a majority of their damage through the air, here are the quarterbacks he should post his statistics up against with their stats from last year.
Player,School: Attpts-PssYds/Gm Rush-RushYds/Gm
Teddy Bridgewater, Lou 296-163.8 89-5.08
EJ Manuel, FSU 311-222.2 109-13.0
Tajh Boyd, Clemson 499-273.4 142-15.5
Cody Fajardo, Nevada 218-170.7 128-69.4
Logan Thomas, VT 391-215.2 153-33.5
BJ Daniels, USF 365-236.7 133-53.6
James Franklin, Mizzou 377-220.9 217-75.5
Munchie Legaux, UC 354-172.0 107-36.8
Considering Legaux slipped into the Zach Collaros offense last year, I'd expect this season to feature more opportunities for Legaux to use his legs in space. Instead of 3.5 pass attempts for every rush, more in the area of 3.0 passes per rush seems like an ideal point. That's about the average for most of these.
Should Legaux be comparing his numbers to those of the top returning dual-threat quarterbacks? Maybe not yet. But that doesn't change these as goal statistics. He should be better. How much better will determine how close he comes to these stats. Looking at what they've done we can derive a general projection of what would constitute numbers Legaux should be reaching on a weekly basis if the UC offense is to thrive with a dual-threat QB.
With more rushing attempts, his rushing numbers per game should increase. Reaching a 50 rushing yards per game average, as Daniels, Franklin and Fajardo did last year doesn't seem completely unrealistic. The passing numbers will be those to watch, though. If his completion percentage increases as the team hopes it will with better knowledge of the system and catering to his strengths, that should equal 25-30 extra yards per game.
Where does that leave us?
Legaux could realistically throw for 200 and rush for 50 yards a game -- throwing three times for every pass. Certainly an attainable goal. If that happens, the Bearcats offense will be humming and UC will be winning its fair share.
Break those out over a 13-game season and you would have a season where Legaux passed for 2,600 yards and ran for 650.
Six quarterbacks in college football last year averaged at least 200 yards passing and 50 yards rushing a game. A step up of improvement leaves him in that type of company.
What would Munchie say is he finished the year averaging 200 yards passing and 50 rushing?
"I would say I should have done better," Legaux said. "That is not acceptable enough. I got to push harder than that. I got to help my team out more; I got to bring more to the table."
If Legaux brings more to the table, by the end of this season, the Bearcats will be bringing another trophy to Nippert Stadium.