I had a chance to catch up with Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux, who is poised to take over for Zach Collaros as the starter. Legaux has been running with the first team, though there has been good competition from Brendon Kay this spring. Coach Butch Jones has yet to announce the starter.
Here is a little of what Legaux had to say about his spring, and where he needs to improve headed into the season.
How do you feel now that you are working to become the starter of this team?
ML: Going into the role of starter, it’s big shoes to fill. Zach was our leader last year, and he did a great job of being a leader. I'm going to take on that role. I don't want to have a decrease in the offense. I don't want to slow down. I have to fill some big shoes, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get my team some victories this year.
I know it was under difficult circumstances, but you do have some experience going into this year. What did you learn from going in after Zach got hurt?
ML: That first game I started, I was nervous because it was my first college start. My last start before that was a high school game. Going into this year, I’m going to be a little nervous that first play, because that's me. I don't want to mess up. But this year, I have more confidence in myself, I believe I can go out there and execute, learn the plays. This year, I will be more prepared mentally and physically when Sept. 6 comes around.
What was the most nerve-wracking part of stepping in?
ML: The most nervous part was when I saw Zach on the ground. When I saw him being carried off in the truck I said to myself, "It's your time now." Coach Jones always preaches that you never know when your number is going to be called.
What do you think you showed with your play last season?
ML: I think I showed my team a lot of character, that I'm willing to fight with them, I give it my all. A lot of guys said we've got your back. They knew I was young and they were behind me 100 percent. I wanted to show them that I was a warrior, I would go out there and do whatever it takes.
How are you working on developing chemistry with your receivers?
ML: We watch film a lot, me and the receivers. Also on weekdays, we run routes, mainly to get the timing down. I want to get that down pat, get the ball to them when coming out of their break. I want to have that chemistry with each one of them.
Who has stood out?
ML: Those guys have put in tremendous time in the film room. The big thing is they are asking me questions like what are my progressions, what coverages do we see, why are we running this play, what receiver are you looking for in this play, tendencies. All those guys are doing a good job going into the spring.
How did being maybe a little unfamiliar with your receivers last season in terms of rhythm impact how you played?
ML: Last year, I took a lot of reps in practice, but I was with the twos. That's a big difference. You can practice and say you're ready, but the game is a totally different speed, different defenses, different schemes. You have to adjust your routes and breaking points. We’re working this offseason and spring ball on that.
How has the competition with Brendon helped?
ML: It’s a good thing. Brendon, he's a smart guy. He knows football. He pushes me because you never know when your spot can be taken. Every day out there, somebody wants to take your spot. I don't want to get too complacent with that. I don't want to relax. You want to keep that energy. I want to keep fighting, showing coach I want to win that battle. I have passion for the game, and I’m going to keep fighting.
And are you taking reps with the ones?
ML: Yes, I’m taking reps with the ones this spring.
What else do you really want to work on?
ML: Improve on my accuracy. I have a strong arm, I can make those throws, deep ball throws. But I don't want to put it an area. I want to put it where the receivers can get it. I’m also working on my footwork and follow through, not throwing every ball as hard as I can. Not trying to throw it soft, not placing it in a certain spot, just being accurate.