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Williamsville’s Licata takes the helm for UB

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

He’s waited almost two years for his chance to start a football game for the University at Buffalo, but Williamsville South High School graduate Joe Licata now can seize the opportunity.

According to Bob DiCesare of the Buffalo News, starting quarterback Alex Zordich will not suit up for the Bulls (1-7) in Saturday’s home tilt against Miami (OH). The team’s penultimate home game kicks off at noon, and you can purchase tickets here.

Here’s Quinn’s full quote to DiCesare:

“[Zordich] was hurt,” Quinn said. “We just feel he needs to relax a little bit. We need to get him healed up. He was hurt. That’s why he came out of the game. I didn’t pull him out of the game because of ineffective play or I wasn’t happy with Alex Zordich. He’s our quarterback. He’s our starting quarterback. But he was thinking of the team, that he wasn’t able to perform to the level he expects.

Zordich and Licata are polar opposites at the quarterback position, regardless of what Quinn wants you to believe. Zordich is a run-first type that’s best at the read option, while Licata would much rather throw the ball 40 times per game and find a rhythm. Unlike the incumbent, Licata can throw the deep out, fit the ball in tight windows and test secondaries downfield.

It’s not like Licata is cold entering the fray, this time at least. He’s come on late in five contests this year in attempts to inject life into a struggling Buffalo offense, and he’s completed 21 of 46 passes for 239 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and one fumble lost. Not unexpectedly, he’s shown a very live arm but poor pocket presence, a skill that comes with experience and confidence.

A lot of the things we thought two years ago were true—he had such a strong receiving corps as a Billie that he very rarely went beyond his first or second read, and defenses would commit so many defensive backs in coverage that a pass rush wouldn’t threaten Licata.

Licata will square-off against a vulnerable Miami (OH) pass defense that, despite decent parts like Dayonne Nunley, Brison Burris and Pat Hinkel, concedes the third-most passing yards per game in the MAC (262 ypg). The Bulls’ red-shirt freshman should have a full complement of receivers too, as Fred Lee and Alex Neutz are both healthy and expected to start.

(Header photo courtesy of Don Nieman from the UB vs. Kent State—full gallery here).

TAGGED: alex zordich, jeff quinn, joe licata, miami oh, ub bulls, ub football, university at buffalo

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