If you thought there was no possible way UB could top the quarterback drama that was Zach Maynard's 'The Decision' tour of 2010, well then you were wrong. Granted we know better who will be on the roster this coming season but knowing who will land where is close to impossible this season.
Last year, when Maynard left, pretty much everyone knew that Jerry Davis was going to start. Lip service by Quinn's staff aside he was the only Bull who had taken game time snaps at the college level. I do think that if Dennison had come into camp and blew the doors off of Davis they would have gotten the nod but anything short of a knockout would have Davis starting against Rhode Island.
That's exactly the way spring and summer played out. Jorgensen was knocked out by an injury and Davis and Dennison battled it out. Warden, Zordich, and Johnson were were relegated to red shirt mode.By the time Rhode Island rolled around things seemed stable with Davis as the starter and Dennison as a change of pace Quarterback.
2010-2011 QB Drama
|QB||Last Spring||Last Summer||Start of Season||End of the Season||Spring Outlook|
|Jerry Davis||Favorite to Start||Dog Fight with Dennison||Starter||Backup||Likely Backup|
|A. Dennison||Possible Starter
||Dog Fight with Davis||Backup||Tight End / QB
||Likely Red Shirt||Emergency||Starter||Starter|
|Ty Warden||-||Likely Red Shirt||Red Shirt||Left the Team||-|
|R. Johnson||-||Rumored Change||Red Shirt||Red Shirt||Third Chair
|C. Jorgensen||Dark Horse||Season Ending Injury||-||Graduated||-|
After taking care of our cupcake the play of Davis fell off, and Dennison was no better. Things got so bad that so bad that Zordich was named the starter a little more than half way through the season. His play, while better, was not anything that should put him too comfortably into the drivers season.
Dennison was moved to a tight end spot and did some special teams work. He was all class through the move, even taking on the role of 'emergency QB'. His play on special teams was inspired and he will most certainly be an asset in some capacity this season. Davis had to step back in when Zordich got hurt (running like a FB will do that) and Alex ended up back in the role of Quarterback.
When the season ended walk on QB Tyler Warden left the team which put UB with three QB's entering spring ball (Zordich, Davis, and Johnson). To mix things up even more the Offensive Coordinator / QB Coach and the WR Coach / Passing Coordinator from 2010 are both gone.
Granted the wheels really did not come off until Matt Ostrowski went down against UCF in week three but even before then he did not do much to impress. Excluding the drubbing of Rhode Island Davis only completed more than 50% of his passes three out of nine games.
What was particularly disturbing was his penchant for throwing pick sixes (and near pick sixes). He also overthrew a ton of open receivers. While he finished the season at a certain number two he may be closer to earning another shot than most people think.
The biggest thing Davis has going against him is perception. No UB Quarterback looked remotely competent last season. The best fans ever saw was 'composure under pressure'. Davis did something no other QB managed to do last season, get a more than 50% completion ratio in a game. It's hard to see it that way because of the pick sixes and overthrows but Dennison and Zordich did no better.
But the idea is that Davis was the favorite to start in 2010 because he had some experience. Going into camp this year he will face another QB with experience.
Alex Zordich: Jeff Quinn officially set Alex Zordich's red shirt ablaze whilst UB was getting curb stomped by Northern Illinois. Jerry Davis's stat-line in that game? 7/23 for 101 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The touchdown was an 81 yard bomb to Marcus Rivers as the first half ended. Take that one way and his QB Rating was 25.
Zordich did not fair much better in hist first start against Temple throwing three picks and no touchdowns as UB was blown out of the stadium. In fact Zordich himself never got over the 50% passing mark aside from the 2/3 performance he put in against NIU's second stringers.
Before he could get himself established his ribs were broken against Ball State.. Zordich ran the ball like a madman. When he did bother to throw the ball it was not much better than Davis. He did 'look' more composed than Davis but that seldom seemed to translate into good passes.
With a season behind him, and lord willing a deeper line in front of him, he might be the QB that many thought he could be. But on the merits of what he did last year it's hard to imagine his 'lead' going into camp is all that big.
Rudy Johnson: During the summer, when UB was flush with Quarterbacks and everyone was worried about the receivers there were murmurings that Johnson would be moved to a wide-out spot.
Thankfully that never materialized because our receivers turned out just fine and because it gives Coach Patterson another option this spring.
Johnson is a solid all around athlete who is a bit on the short side for a QB but in a spread system which relies a lot on the shotgun that's going to be less of a problem than in the pro set. With the departure of Ty Warden Johnson is now the defacto 'number three guy' until Joe Licata and Tony Daniel get to campus this summer.
It no secret that the real key to improving this team is going to happen in front of the QB. I'm not sure any of these guys are going to be able to do much better this season than we saw last year if they are running for their lives on all but the shortest of pass plays.
It should be a more entertaining spring at the QB position that we saw last year, but not entertaining in a good way. With no clear favorite and a new staff anything can happen. Dennison can find his way back, Johnson can Impress, Maynard could come back... (ok *almost* anything can happen)...