NCF Nation: Jeremy Higgins

Non-AQ spring games

April, 22, 2011
There are a few non-AQ spring games this weekend. Here is a quick glance:

Ball State: New coach Pete Lembo has stressed working on fundamentals this spring, but he also has a quarterback competition that has been ongoing between Keith Wenning and Kelly Page. The two are the only scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, so they have gotten plenty of reps with the first- and second-team offenses. Wenning has an edge following the last scrimmage the Cardinals played. Lembo hopes to have a decision following the spring game. "But if it’s not clear-cut, we won’t panic and we’ll make that decision in the preseason," Lembo said. "Either way, those guys will continue to get a lot of work."

Colorado State: Quarterback Pete Thomas has continued his improvement throughout the spring, but one player to watch is Crockett Gillmore, who has turned heads at tight end after lining up at defensive end. The 6-foot-6 Gillmore had a 1,000-yard season as a receiver in high school and has showed good hands and good blocking this spring. Coach Steve Fairchild was asked after a scrimmage last week whether Gillmore could be used like Stanford two-way player Owen Marecic. "It would take some time, and some well-thought-out packages to see which way he could go the most, and so forth," Fairchild said. "We’ve got a long time before we have to make that decision. But I know this: He’s one of our top 22 football players and he will be on the field in Albuquerque [for the season opener against New Mexico Sept. 3].”

FAU: Graham Wilbert and David Kooi continue their competition to become the starting quarterback, but it appears there may not be a decision until the fall. In the last scrimmage before the spring game, Kooi went 5-of-12 for 64 yards and a touchdown. Wilbert went 12-of-18 for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Idaho: Injuries have taken a big toll this spring, especially on the offensive line, where only two starters participated in the team's last scrimmage. But coach Robb Akey has been pleased with the development of the depth on his defensive line. Michael Cosgrove and Benson Mayowa have been spring standouts, combining for four sacks in the team's last scrimmage.

Marshall: A.J. Graham and Eddie Sullivan have not separated themselves in the race to become the Thundering Herd's starting quarterback. They have one last opportunity to impress in the spring game, though this race is expected to continue into the fall. The Herd has to improve their running game, too, and Essray Taliaferro has impressed this spring.

Navy: Twenty players are being held out of the scrimmage this afternoon for various injuries, including Alexander Teich, Jabaree Tuani, G.G. Greene and Aaron Santiago. Those players are veterans, and do not need to prove themselves. Coach Ken Niumatalolo needs to see his younger defensive players in the game with so many starting jobs up for grabs in the linebacking corps and secondary. Only three starters return on defense.

Northern Illinois: A great running back competition has developed during between Jamal Womble, Jasmin Hopkins and Akeem Daniels.

You can read more about it in a blog post I did earlier this morning.

Utah State: Alex Hart, Jeremy Higgins and Adam Kennedy are competing for the starting quarterback job to replace Diondre Borel. Coach Gary Andersen does not want the offense to fall on their shoulders as much as it did on Borel. They should get some help from a deep running back group that features the return of Robert Turbin (knee) and Michael Smith (turf toe), along with Kerwynn Williams. Turbin has been limited during the spring but expects to be full go for fall practice. The last day of practice is actually April 29, but the spring game is Saturday.

Spring QB competition: WAC

February, 9, 2011
We continue our look at spring quarterback competitions with a look at the WAC. The league has the most turnover of quarterbacks among all the non-AQs. Only Hawaii and New Mexico State return their main starters from 2010.


[+] EnlargeColin Kaepernick
AP Photo/Eugene TannerNevada has big shoes to fill with quarterback Colin Kaepernick headed to the NFL.
Who’s out: Colin Kaepernick, school and NCAA record-setting quarterback.

Who’s in: Tyler Lantrip. He has served as Kaepernick’s backup for the past several seasons and is a senior, so he should have the knowledge of the Pistol offense to be able to go in right away and attempt to replace Kaepernick. But it’s a much different deal when you have to start instead of hold a clipboard. How he handles the job as a starter will go a long way toward determining how far Nevada goes in 2011.

Fresno State

Who’s out: Ryan Colburn.

Who’s in: Derek Carr. The brother of former Bulldogs quarterback David Carr, Derek comes in with much hype. He played as a backup his true freshman season after battling with Colburn for the starting job, but the coaching staff wisely redshirted him in 2010 to give him three years of eligibility. In his senior year of high school, he threw for more than 4,000 yards and broke more than 20 school offensive records.

Louisiana Tech

Who’s out: Ross Jenkins.

Who’s competing: Jenkins emerged after Louisiana Tech tried several different players last season. The players to watch going into the spring: Tarik Hakmi, who played in three games last season, and junior college signee Zach Griffith from Fullerton C.C. Colby Cameron, who played in several games at quarterback last season, could be a possibility, but he moved to receiver after Jenkins won the starting job again last season. Rising redshirt freshman Taylor Burch could be in the mix. He also is playing baseball, but is expected to compete in spring football.


Who’s out: Nathan Enderle.

Who’s in: Brian Reader. He spent the past two seasons backing up Enderle and is now ready to take the starting reigns as a rising senior. The Vandals also have Taylor Davis, Logan Bushnell and Justin Podrabsky on the roster.

Utah State

Who’s out: Diondre Borel.

Who’s competing: The Aggies are quite young at this position, with Alex Hart and Jeremy Higgins returning off their freshmen seasons. Higgins served as the backup, but Utah State signed a junior college transfer in Adam Kennedy who will be eligible for spring practice. Kennedy, at 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds played at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif., last season, throwing for 1,767 yards in 10 games on 153-of-236 passing with 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also had 368 yards rushing with four touchdowns.

San Jose State

Who’s out: Jordan La Secla

Who’s competing: Matt Faulkner, a transfer from Fresno State, served as the backup last season but will have healthy competition from rising sophomores Dasmen Stewart and Blake Jurich. As a senior in high school, Jurich threw for 2,360 yards. Stewart has a redshirt under his belt, so he has been in the program for two years.