Quinn crowns Chazz as starter
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • August 20, 2011 @ 2:51pm
When former Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Chazz Anderson enrolled at the University at Buffalo in early July, the opportunity to start factored into his decision. After all, with Zach Collaros entrenched as Cincinnati’s starter and no clear favorite in Buffalo, reuniting with Jeff Quinn, Anderson’s former offensive coordinator from 2007 to 2009, made perfect sense. Today, the fifth year senior—and UB graduate student—basked in good news.
“Chazz Anderson has been the young man that’s taken all the first team reps. I would fully anticipate Chazz Anderson being our starting quarterback when we take the field against Pitt,” Quinn officially announced.
Was Anderson promised the starting gig from the get-go? We’ll never know—but we do know Anderson will be under center on Sept. 3. Sophomore Alex Zordich, after a sizzling scrimmage today, is locked in at the backup spot.
In this afternoon’s post-scrimmage press session at UB Stadium, Anderson said all the right things about winning the starter’s role. “I just want to do my part to help the boys win a football game, if I’m on the bench, I’m on the bench, if I’m starting, I’m starting.”
“For me, it’s all about preparation,” he adds. “I want the guys to see that I’m consistent and predictable—they know what they’ll get out of Chazz every single day.” Nice use of the third person, Chazz.
While the usual athlete quotes are wearying, Channel 4 and UB play-by-play man Paul Peck raised a solid point: this is Anderson’s first season as a college starting quarterback. As we’ve heard from almost every football player imaginable, there’s no substitute for game experience, and Anderson has only three career starts under his belt.
Sure, Anderson’s familiarity with Coach Quinn and his comfort in the spread offense will be an asset, but it’s not like the Bulls are bringing in a seasoned starter who’s handled pressure situations year in and year out. Anderson looked poised today in the scrimmage, showing elusiveness in the pocket and a strong enough arm to hit Alex Neutz in the end zone from 30 yards out.
“He can escape the pass rush, as you saw today, which is very important if we need him to. He can make plays downfield, and that really made me feel like we found the guy to take the first snap against Pitt,” Quinn explained.
Despite his QB’s lack of big-game experience, Quinn complimented Anderson’s “maturity, confidence and presence,” all stemming from four years with a Big East football program. Top receiver Marcus Rivers is impressed by Anderson’s work ethic and experience as well; “A lot of us think he’s 22 going on 40,” Rivers remarked.
Will the Bulls manage to keep pace with opponents to take advantage of Anderson’s supposed late-game poise and competent decision-making? We’ll see, but the newly crowned QB will have his hands full with Pitt.
—- Zordich was the star of practice today, zinging two TD throws to Devon Hughes in red zone reps and throwing a dart to true freshman tight end Matt Weiser, a player Quinn repeatedly gushes about. There’s much more power behind Zordich’s throws in his second camp, and he looks much more comfortable in the pocket. I fully anticipate the former Cincy recruit earning a few starts this season.
—- Weiser, defensive back Mike Brown and left tackle Gabriel Barbe are the freshman that Quinn has touted during summer practice. Brown wasn’t seeing action with the “1s” in the secondary, though, as Carlos Lammons, Josh Copeland, Adam Redden and Cortney Lester matched up against Buffalo’s offensive starters. Barbe earned first team reps over incumbent Pat Wilson—no details on whether or not Wilson is nursing an injury.
—- With John Syty out with an injury, red-shirt freshman Lee Skinner played inside linebacker next to Scott Pettigrew for the first team D.
—- Peter Fardon knocked in a 40+ yard field goal with time expiring on the practice clock—the senior place-kicker was mobbed by jubilant teammates as the bench cleared. It was a little corny, but kind of cool at the same time. Patrick Clarke’s 52 yard attempt—despite a high snap—landed somewhere between the 10 and 20 yard-line. The kicking job, for now, looks to be comfortably Fardon’s.