The Bradley Effect – What It All Means

While Joey Bradley had a less than stellar 2011 season stats-wise, he certainly brought an element to the program that it was lacking – depth.

He brought depth and stability at a time when the most high-profile position on the field was missing both.  He seemed poised to add a couple important elements to his repertoire this season – respect and leadership.  His importance to the team last year was as paramount as it was this year.  Until, of course, he apparently left the team recently.

We have reason to believe that Joey Bradley is no longer with the team.  With the departures of Bradley and Chris Comes, the crowded QB position all of the sudden becomes younger and thinner.  This no doubt makes Braden Hanson the #1 guy for 2012, like it was thought to be all along.  But what about after Hanson?

2012 QB Depth Chart
1.  Braden Hanson – Senior
2.  Marcus Hendrickson – Senior
3.  Joe Mollberg/Ryan Bartels – True Freshman
4.  Jake Hanson – True Freshman

We see Marcus Hendrickson being the #2 guy entering fall camp by default based on experience alone.  It also probably “readies” the two incoming freshman at a faster pace as well.  We expect to see both Ryan Bartels and Joe Mollberg taking substantial reps this fall to figure out who’s most ready to be the #3 guy on the depth chart.  We also expect to see both of them travel on road games, which is typically not normal.  Carrying 4 QB’s on the travel roster gives you one less guy who can provide depth at other positions and more importantly, play special teams.  Maybe one guy separates himself from the other or the need to travel a depth guy at another position supercedes the need to travel both freshman QB’s, but it’s definitely on the table.

In the event of an injury at QB, one other angle is the all-of-the-sudden importance of the walk-on QB from Grafton, Jake Hanson.  His ability to run scout team offense now becomes a big deal in order to give the defense good looks each week in preparation.  Devin Coyle from Mandan will probably also be part of that mix as well, but he has the athletic talent to possibly play another position.  This is really important stuff that sometimes gets lost in the hype of everything.  Any college football coach will tell you that from week to week, their team is only going to be as good as the looks they get from their scouts.

This also affects recruiting for 2013.  We don’t think there is any doubt that the coaching staff at minimum has to entertain the thought of bringing in a JUCO QB for spring semester 2013 to improve experience and depth.  With Hendrickson and Hanson both graduating, depth again becomes a concern.  Unless of course, Bartels and Mollberg show they are ready to take over – and we would say BOTH need to show it in order for a JUCO QB to not be considered.

2013 QB Depth Chart
1.  Joe Mollberg/Ryan Bartels – Redshirt Freshman
2.  Jake Hanson – Redshirt Freshman

What’s this do to offensive playcalling for the 2012 season?  Does the offensive staff become more conservative and try keep Hanson upright and healthy by keeping him the pocket more, etc?  This may or may not have any infuence on what the plan is already but it’s something to consider.  Interesting to say the least.

Now, all of the sudden, UND is one injury at QB away from total uncertainty on the offensive side of the ball, not unlike 2010 and 2011.  If called upon, maybe Marcus Hendrickson steps up and grabs it and runs with it like Brent Goska unexpectedly did last year.  Maybe Bartels and/or Mollberg decide it’s their time a little earlier than expected.

One thing is for sure:  the O-line protection and health of Braden Hanson just became that much more important than it already was on the offensive side of the ball.

We aren’t quite sure what caused Bradley to go a different direction, especially this late in the game.  We can’t see how anything had changed since spring ball and he knew he would have a tall order in beating out Hanson this year.  He also would have had his chance during his senior season in 2013 to be the starter if Bartels and Mollberg didn’t progress to the point where they passed Bradley on the depth chart.

Everything happens for a reason and we wish Joey Bradley the best on his future endeavors.

29 Responses

  1. Stone

    Although it’s a big blow to depth, I think Bradley and his “swag” (see Twitter handle) can move along and UND will be fine. Hopefully Hansen does what he’s done so for in camp and the young kids step up.

    1. Ole in MSP

      I think this is a terrible blow to the program. I cannot imagine why the kid is leaving being one play away from being the starter in any given game the rest of the year if the transfer kid gets dinged and QB’s do get dinged or worse. This could be the biggest thing that affects this program this year. Really sad to see this happen. I think it will have a huge impact on the team. Very unfortunate and Muss has got to be concerned about it.

      1. Stone

        But it also COULD be nothing. Hanson is stud… I get it, if he gets hurt, they are in trouble, but Hanson is, and was when Bradley was still here, the CLEAR No. 1 QB. Just gotta hope an experienced O-Line and a decent running game can keep him upright and health. I have faith that he’ll be fine

  2. Mussman

    The reason this happened is because Mussman brings in a transfer with no experience with the offense and hands him the job even though he didn’t deserve it or earn it. Were not talking about a juco. Were talking about a 1 year player. BCS league or not it was the wrong thing to do.

    1. Bone

      After Bradley had a 52% completion rate on the year, including a brilliant 4-18 performance vs. Cal Poly and got benched for the rest of the year, it wasn’t too hard to figure out they would look elsewhere.

    2. geaux sioux

      We’re not D2 anymore. Bradley would’ve been a decent D2 qb. You apparently didn’t see much of Hanson other than the spring game. He’s the real deal so open wide for some crow coming from both him and Mussman. There is a reason that he is a coach and you are an armchair qb.

  3. The Man

    How can Hanson have “swag” He’s a 5 year senior who has only played a handful of minutes in his DI career on a bad FBS team.

    1. UNDColorado

      Are you also taking into consideration that the two QB’s that he backed up are now in the NFL?

  4. Colby

    Bradley, the quarterback who left, is the one with the “swag” twitter. Where did you get the idea Hanson was handed the job? Bringing Hanson in was the right thing to do.

  5. JW

    Wow, really sorry to see Bradley leave. I went to the spring game and took time to view and review the full game video. Bradley was clearly the better qb.

    1. Rob

      I would have to guess somewhere in Washington or near Washington. Just a guess but by his twitter it really seems like he loves that area which I don’t blame him.

      1. Logically, he could only go play D2 now that Juco is done and having to sit out if he goes FCS again. I would say Humboldt State or Central Washington are the logical candidates. Maybe a team in the RMAC.

  6. FSSD

    Best of luck to Joey Bradley – I thought that he could have really contributed his senior year. I thought that he really improved between last season and the spring game.

  7. Rob

    Is there any chance we could still get a drop down QB or JUCO QB for this year? Or is it too late now? Just asking because of the news that Montana got that Stanford QB.

  8. Just a little more perspective regarding the Bradley timeline. I’m not an apologist for him by any means, just speaking objectively.

    Bradley was a true sophomore with only 1 year of experience at the California Juco prior to coming to UND. He had a redshirt year to burn if necessary while at UND. At the Juco he attended, all they did was run the “chuck & duck” offense from the shotgun against press man coverage all day(fade, fade, fade). He never really had to make true reads on a consistent basis and never operated under center. Play action for him was flashing a quick zone read fake and NOT having to turn his back to a defense on a fake and then having to look up the safeties to make a read and throw downfield.

    2011 – He comes to UND for 1 spring semester and fall camp and beats out 5th year senior Brent Goska and 4th year junior Marcus Hendrickson.

    He then struggles in the 2011 season for a few games and is inconsistent at best – which was to be expected to a certain degree. He was later replaced by Goska, who grabbed it and never let go like a cagey 5th year senior should.

    2012 – Bradley then has a “very good” 2nd spring and has a great showing in the final spring game. He leaves spring with a shot to compete for the starting job as a 3rd year junior against Braden Hanson.

    I guess my point is given all those circumstances, how bad do some of you think he really was? Wasn’t some of that to be expected? I just don’t think his progression was all that far off.

    Bottom line: I think the 2012 and 2013 version of UND Football would be better with him rather than without him – no question.

    Whether we all agree on this or not, this is a great discussion and we can tell that excitement for UND Football is at an all-time high.

    1. JW

      First of all, for full disclousure, I am a west coast guy and I have followed Cal JC football for a long time. It is considered to be a first class training ground for the kids that are not ready for D1 or D2 out of high school. Ever hear of Aaron Rogers? He played NorCal JC ball before he went on to Cal and now the Green Bay QB. Also, you might check with the two new juco dbs about the “huck and duck” offense. I think that they played in the same conference as Bradley???

      1. Diablo Valley’s offense was nothing short of ‘chuck and duck’ from the film I watched on Bradley in 2010. Maybe it has changed since or was different before him. If so, my apologies. There’s nothing wrong with running an offense like that if you have the personnel to do it. It’s just nothing like the offense that UND runs – at all. Bradley was rarely under center in Juco ball.

        No doubt, Norcal Juco football is good. I don’t disagree with anything you say about that conference’s quality of football.

        Aaron Rodgers obviously can execute a chuck and duck offense better than Bradley, if that’s truly what they ran as well. Rodgers went to the Pac-12 in Berkeley after Juco and was a 1st round draft pick. He’s also on of the best QB’s in the NFL with a Super Bowl ring. I’m not sure how Rodgers has anything to do with this. Because Bradley played in the same conference as Rodgers, does that mean they didn’t play chuck and duck ball at Diablo Valley in 2010?

        I’m not sure what the Juco DBs at UND have to do with Joey Bradley and Diablo Valley’s offense in 2010 either.

        Thanks for the readership and comments, JW. It is appreciated.

        1. JW

          I agree 100%, the “chuck and duck” (spread) is nothing like the UND offense….. makes me question why the coaches recruited Bradley.

    2. Ole in MSP

      Fritz, I agree whole heartedly that the team would be far better off this year and next with Mr. Bradley on the roster. I for one am really disappointed in this event and I am sure that it will have an impact during the season at some point. Maybe football is not the only reason he left, but if Hansen goes down we are in trouble.

    3. MoSiouxFan

      I just hope that he didn’t leave because he didn’t think he could beat Hanson out for the starting position. If he left for some other reason, fine. If he just wanted to duck the competition, then we’re better off without him because, of all the positions on the field, we need a high character guy at QB. Good luck to him either way.

  9. LetsGoSioux!

    Mr. Bradley better have packed up all of his “Swag”, we don’t need that crap polluting the campus.

    1. Rob

      Really? Because he had swag in his twitter handle? I really don’t think it “polluted” the campus. When he was benched last season I thought he handled it very well and still cheered on the team. I think a QB actually needs swag. They need to be confident in their abilities. Anyways I wish Joey the best of luck and hope he succeeds wherever he ends up.

  10. firg voss reporting


    weak arm


    great all around athlete
    strong arm
    quick feet

    i would have hoped that marcus would have beat bradley out for second string anyways…

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