The records are nice. They will be remembered. But, are they enough?
Trevor Vittatoe has been incredibly productive and his numbers will be the measure that all future Miner quarterbacks will be judged against. But, there are still two gaping holes in his resume as UTEP's starter.
He's never led UTEP to a winning season or to a bowl game.
Quarterbacks legacies aren't measured by their arm strength or passing yards. They are measured by wins. Dan Marino had a stronger arm, and more yards, than Joe Montana. Which one has the rings? Which one is considered the better quarterback now?
Vittatoe has had some incredible moments and given Miner fans everything he has out their on the field. This season, he's been a leader, a competitor, and the teams Most Valuable Player. But, if he wants to put an exclamation point on his legacy, he needs to finish 2010 the way he's started it. He needs to lead the Miners into a competitive finish in the C-USA West and take the team to a bowl game.
Miner fans have had incredibly high hopes for Vittatoe ever since he exceeded our wildest expectations in 2007 when he replaced Jordan Palmer as the starter. Miner fans expected a drop-off from the first year starter. Instead, we got a calm, confident freshman who had a rifle for an arm and who gave Miner fans hope that not only could he better than an up-and-down Palmer, but that he could be the best ever. As a freshman, Vittatoe completed 55% of his passes and tossed a remarkable 25 touchdowns to 7 interceptions.
In 2008, Vittatoe was even better. He posted a career high in completion percentages (58.9%) and tossed a stunning 33 touchdowns to 9 interceptions. UTEP, we know, was in the midst of implementing the awful 3-3-5 defense and the Miners offense couldn't make up the difference. In 2009, injuries on both sides of the ball struck. Vittatoe's numbers took a considerable dive compared to his stellar sophomore season (17 TD's,13 INT's).
UTEP's struggles in 2009 weren't all Trevor's fault. It's not Trevor's fault that the Miners decided to try the 3-3-5 defense. It's not Trevor's fault that that effort was a total failure. Injuries were also devastating and the pass defense was a joke. That said, if we're going to celebrate TV's incredible individual successes, we have to also toss out these team number:
4-8. 5-7. 4-8.
Those records are not by any means all on TV. Nor, will a successful 2010 season be possible only because of his play. But, for better or worse, a quarterback tends to get a large share of the accolades when a team wins and a disproportionate share of blame when a team loses. That's the reality of football at every level.
So, Trevor's numbers and records rank among UTEP's, the C-USA's best. At the national level, he's quickly becoming as productive as the very best of them. His Miner records may never be broken. But, the individual accolades won't mean a whole lot to Miner fans if they don't help push UTEP back into the post season and allow the Miners to get back to where they belong; in contention for the C-USA West Title. Trevor has earned any and all admiration and national praise coming his way, but it's time for him to rally his team and show the Miner Nation that those numbers weren't wasted in vain. Knowing what a competitor Trevor Vittatoe is; I'm sure he'd agree.
For More on Trevor Vittatoe, check out The TV Show Episode 1: Examining Trevor Vittatoes Records & Ranks.