Quarterbacks take center stage at UB’s annual Blue-White game
Junior quarterback Alex Zordich and freshman Joe Licata will carry their competition for the starting role into the summer months.
“They made it tough on me today,” Quinn said, laughing. “And that’s no B.S.; I am serious. I was very impressed with all four of them. But I think when you look at Alex Zordich and you look at Joe Licata, I think those are the two guys we are going to look at carefully to be that guy who takes that first snap against Georgia.”
Zordich, who likely has a leg up in the battle, connected on 9 of 17 passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns Saturday. Licata hit on 7 of 13 throws for 99 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Both quarterbacks were particularly sharp in the first half. Zordich went 8 for 11 with 152 yards, including touchdowns passes of 16, 32 and 42 yards. Each time, he looked off the defense before connecting in the end zone. Licata, who started the first two series, played his best during the final minute of the first half, leading a last-second scoring drive in which he threw an 8-yard, back-shoulder touchdown to Alex Neutz.
“I don’t think it would be fair to say, ‘Hey, this guy is No. 1.’” Quinn said. “We know who took the No. 1 snap today and that was good. But at the same time, you look at Zordich – there’s still some time and I think it’s fair to both of them to know that it’s still an open competition and they are both going to have an opportunity to prove themselves in the summer. I think that’s what you want. They are both hungry to do it.”
Last year, Quinn named Jerry Davis the starter after the spring game, but later brought in a fifth-year senior, transfer Chazz Anderson, who ultimately staved off Zordich during the summer sessions. Davis ended up third on the depth chart and didn’t log a single statistic.
Davis, a senior, and freshman Tony Daniel will likely compete for the third spot. Davis completed 3 of 6 passing attempts for 44 yards. Daniel went 19 for 25 with 177 yards and a touchdown, also picking up 62 yards on nine rushing attempts.
“Competition is going to be a part of it all the time, especially at the quarterback position. Accept it. You've got to love it and get better from it,” Zordich said.
“You always want to compete,” Licata said. “You never want to be comfortable with your position; you always want to have someone there. You want to fight for the job and earn it."
The scrimmage, officiated by NCAA referees, pits the offense (White) against the defense (Blue). After the White took a 67-19 halftime lead, the coaches opted to flip-flop the score to give the unit an opportunity to play from behind.
Scoring rules for the offense were the same as an official game, with the exception of one point begin awarded for a first down and two points for a fourth-down conversion. The defense earned nine points for a touchdown, three points for an interception or fumble-recovery, two points for a safety, one point for a third-down stop, two points for a fourth-down stop, three points for a missed field-goal, one point for a missed extra-point and one point for a sack or tackle resulting in a loss of yardage.
The Blue-White scrimmage wraps up the Bulls’ spring-practice sessions. Training camp begins in August, with the first regular season game taking place Sept. 1 at Georgia.
Contact freelance sportswriter Charles Roberts at CharlesHRoberts@yahoo.com.