This time last year, the Blazers went into the season with Jimmy Coy solidified into the starting quarterback spot. However, that experiment quickly came to an end.
Throughout the season, Coach David Dean had three different guys take snaps under center.
Dean has taken a more subtle approach to naming the starter this year.
VSU enters game week without publically naming a starting quarterback; however, with two returning players and an incoming junior college transfer vying for the position, much has been made of the competition between the three players. Dean is left with the decision to pick between three different types of quarterbacks.
“All three of them do something a little bit different, which is what is really nice about having those three guys here doing what they’re doing,” Dean said. “Whichever quarterback is in there, we’re going to play to his strength and do what he does best.”
Austen Roberts and Brett Whitmire both played quite a bit last season, while Cayden Cochran enjoyed success at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. However, Roberts, a senior, sees a bit of an advantage among the returning quarterbacks due to their previous experience.
“I would say I’ve been around here a long time and I know the offense in and out,” Roberts said. “I’d say that might be an advantage.”
Cochran does have experience in the VSU offense, though, dating all the way back to high school.
“I love running this offense,” Cochran said. “This is an offense I’ve ran a little bit in high school, at the junior college level and at Oklahoma. It’s the same type of offense, so I’m comfortable in it and I’ve been comfortable in it for a long time. It’s an offense that definitely influenced me wanting to come to this school, so it’s definitely beneficial.”
The quarterbacks, as a group, are not taking this opportunity for granted, but rather as a chance to improve.
“The quarterbacks and I agree that competition is the best coach,” Cochran said. “You can’t get any better coaching than competition. The guy goes in and does well and if you want the job, you have to go in and do as good as, or better, than him. That’s something we all understand and we all back each other.”
Despite being just days away from the opening game with no official starting quarterback, each individual quarterback will have to prepare like they will be the guy under center against Wingate.
“It’s pretty difficult, but you got to prepare no matter if you’re the first, second or third string,” Cochran said. “You have to prepare like you’re going to be the guy, because you’re always a play away if you’re not that first guy. That’s something you got to understand and that’s something I understand. So I’m going to prepare like I’m going to be the guy and we’ll see what happens Saturday.”