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Colorado State coach Steve Fairchild has never been shy when it comes to his quarterbacks, especially during the past six months as he struggles to find a replacement for Billy Farris.
In the spring, Fairchild called his quarterbacks "awful" and "embarrassing" after the team's spring game. Earlier this week, Fairchild explained his expectations to the Fort Collin Coloradoan:
"All they've got to do is put together just an average practice or two in a row, and they'll be the starter, but nobody's done that."
Grant Stucker and Jon Eastman seem to be the frontrunners with Klay Kubiak (shoulder) and Nico Ranieri (hernia) limited because of injuries. Fairchild also asked walk-on transfer M.J. McPeek to join the team for the rest of camp. McPeek was a preferred walk-on last fall at Kansas State, but redshirted before transferring to Colorado State. Per NCAA transfer rules he won't be able to participate this season. Initially, Fairchild didn't want to use a spot on the 105-man roster for him. But with Kubiak and Ranieri limited, he needed another arm.
At the Mountain West's Front Range Kickoff Luncheon in Denver on Thursday, Fairchild was asked if he might be sandbagging a little bit in regards to his quarterbacks since a rivalry game against Colorado loomed as the season opener.
"Please tell [Colorado coach Dan Hawkins] I'm not," Fairchild said. "It's the truth. I mean that sincerely.
"We do hold the bar high [at quarterback]. There's no question. That's the only way I know how to do it at that spot. I expect better play than what we're getting. I'm not going to sugarcoat it for those guys. Somebody's going to rise up eventually."
It's been rare that Fairchild has been complimentary to his quarterbacks, but he did say that it was too bad Kubiak was missing fall camp because he really wanted to see him compete. Kubiak missed all of spring football with shoulder surgery and is still feeling the effects of that injury.
With two weeks remaining before the season opener against Colorado, the Rams are in a similar position as they were a year ago. The only difference is that Fairchild said he could see Farris begin to separate himself from the pack this time last year. This year, the separation is a little more difficult to pick out.
"I think Billy about this time in camp last year started to kind of get into his groove," Fairchild said. "And he wasn't perfect, but you could see that guy, he's going to be our guy. And I'm still waiting on one of these guys."