2013 NCAA Spring Football - The Quarterback Battle Buffalo

Scott Cunningham

The Battle for UB's quarterback could radically shape the Buffalo Attack.

Two very capable quarterbacks who have two rather different skill sets. Last spring the Legs of Alex Zordich prevailed over the Arm of Joe Licata. If not for a mid season injury to Zordich he would have started out the seasons and this spring would be much less interesting.

When Alex Zordich went down against Toledo Joe Licata came in and UB got two dimensional.

Licata is stylistically the exact opposite of Alex Zordich. Where Zordich is a solid running quarterback who strength is not his passing prowess Licata has a strong arm but won't burn many teams with his legs. It makes Licata a bit more susceptible to blitzes than Zordich but when he has time Joe can deliver a far tighter pass down field than Alex can.

That bears out in their stats against Bowl Subdivision Opponents. The numbers before Toledo are all Zordich, and after it's all Licata.

Opponent CAR Gain Loss Net YPC TDs Att Com Int YPA Yds TD Plays Yds
Georgia 14 89 6 83 5.93 1 24 14 0 6.17 148 1 38 231
Kent 8 30 1 29 3.63 0 22 4 2 4.18 92 1 30 121
UConn 14 80 4 76 5.43 0 30 13 1 7.33 220 1 44 296
Ohio 19 122 12 110 5.79 0 25 13 0 3.88 97 1 44 207
NIU 13 51 5 46 3.54 0 29 18 2 6.10 177 0 42 223
Pitt 19 94 15 79 4.16 0 41 23 1 4.02 165 0 60 244
Tol (AZ) 11 74 7 67 6.09 0 16 5 0 7.38 118 1 27 185
Tol (JL) 2 3 7 -4 -2.00 0 11 5 0 6.18 68 1 13 64
Miami 3 9 0 9 3.00 0 24 13 1 5.29 127 2 27 136
WMU 5 8 27 -19 -3.80 0 33 21 0 8.64 285 1 38 266
UMass 5 17 13 4 0.80 0 30 18 1 7.53 226 2 35 230
BGSU 8 7 40 -33 -4.13 0 30 13 0 5.60 168 0 38 135
Zordich 98 540 50 490 5.00 1 187 90 6 5.44 1017 5 285 1507
Licata 23 44 87 -43 -1.87 0 128 70 2 6.83 874 6 151 831
AZ PG 14.50 77.67 7.17 70.50 4.86 0.17 28.50 14.17 1.00 5.26 149.83 0.67 43.00 220
JL PG 5.25 10.25 20.00 -9.75 -1.86 0.00 29.25 16.25 0.50 6.89 201.50 1.25 34.50 192
A-Z 9.25 67.42 -12.8 80.2 6.72 0.17 -0.75 -2.08 0.50 -1.6 -51.7 -0.6 8.50 28.6

It was more than just Alex Zordich being a better runner than Licata. The emphasis on running for Buffalo was not merely Zordich seeing a hole in the defense tucking the ball down and running. When the Junior was in the game the play calling seemed vastly different. There were a lot more read options called, passes seemed to be short to mid range, and Buffalo would even employ a two tight end set.

When Licata entered the game things opened up in the passing game but the running game lost a dimension. Some of that may have been Branden Oliver's injury but a lot of it was a result of coaches calling plays around his lack of mobility. It was when Licata was playing that the "Alley Cat" came into existence.

Before coming to Buffalo Licata smashed nearly every passing record in Western New York and was considered to be one of Jeff Quinn's best recruits of the 2010 class. Zordich come to UB as a late addition to the class of 2009 after Jeff Quinn Took over.

Zordich got work as a true freshman in 2010 when the offense sputterd but was knocked out of the season against Ball State with Broken Ribs. Then last year against Toledo he was sidelined for the year. There is a real grit and fight for Zordich that sometimes makes him put his body into harms way.

It's possible, though not likely, that come August UB could be looking at a quarterback by committee situation. Certainly it's doubtful that spring ends with Jeff Quinn saying "$QB is my guy". It's going to be a long spring, buckle up and enjoy the ride.

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