So after reading Danzig's great post the other day, I kinda wanted to go back in time and look at 2007 Longshore again. Hell, let's include 2006 Longshore in there as well, but I'll focus mainly on the 2007 version.
The party line seems to be that he looked like an NFL quarterback until he got hurt at the Oregon game and that began his downward spiral in 2007. But I remember a different story:
There are very few times I've looked at Longshore and thought he was a top-notch QB. I'd say Minnesota, ASU, Oregon, UCLA, and Texas A&M in 2006 and Oregon and the first three quarters of UCLA in 2007. That's pretty much it. Otherwise, I always held my breath every time Longshore threw the ball.
Looking back at the Tennessee game, I don't remember thinking he was great and I was surprised by how good his numbers were. One of the most common criticisms I've heard of Longshore is his lack of killer instinct. There was a notable article in Sports Illustrated about how he laughs and jokes in the huddle. After he missed a wide open receiver in the Tennessee game, he came back the huddle laughing, which drew a lot of heckling from the student section.
The rest of the games in 2007, he looked okay, nothing special. Oregon 2007, he looked like a great QB, but that's also because Desean Jackson was playing at his best and made Longshore look better than he really is. I've been a Longshore supporter, so I remember using the Oregon game at the time to tell people "hey guys, he is a good QB" and they had to accept it at the time.
First three quarters of UCLA, he looked good again. Jackson once again had a great game and Longshore looked doubly good because the feeling at the time was that Riley had lost the OSU game forus. Then began the fourth-quarter interception rally. Frustrating.
Long-winded post, I know, but the point I'm trying to get across is this - statistics only tell part of the story. Watching the game has a different effect and being at the game itself has an even more different effect.
Moral of the story - look at games in the right context and from the right perspective and the picture may be a little different.