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Starter/backup: Steven Bench or Mike White
Buzz: Bench, who began his career at Penn State, started twice for the Bulls last season; White made five starts as a true freshman. Bench has some running ability, but White looks to have more upside. Whoever starts would be helped by a rushing attack that aspires to be just adequate. That wasn’t the case last season, when USF averaged 88.7 rushing yards per game.
And here’s how the rest of USF’s 2014 Opponents Stacked Up:
Starter/backup: Shane Carden/Kurt Benkert
Buzz: Carden (6-2, 221) is heading into his third season as the starter. He is coming off a 4,139-yard, 33 TD season and has thrown for 7,255 yards and 56 TDs in his two seasons as the starter. He had two 400-yard games and seven 300-yard outings last season. He also completed 70.5 percent of his passes last season, an impressive figure considering he put it up 549 times; he completed 66.1 percent of his passes as a first-time starter in 2012, so it’s safe to say he understands ECU’s version of Mike Leach‘s “Air Raid” offense. Benkert is a redshirt freshman.
Starter/backup: John O’Korn/Billy Cosh
Buzz: O’Korn was excellent as a true freshman last season, throwing for 3,117 yards and 28 TDs. Despite not arriving until the summer, he adapted quickly to the offense — his background at prep powerhouse Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas helped in that regard — and put up the best overall numbers of any true freshman quarterback. O’Korn has some mobility, but his strength is his ability to throw from the pocket. He wore down as the season progressed, though; that shouldn’t happen this season. Cosh is a senior who began his career at Kansas State.
Starter/backup: C.J. Brown/Caleb Rowe
Buzz: Brown, a sixth-year senior who has battled injuries, won’t be an all-league honoree. But he does give Maryland a ton of experience as the Terps enter the Big Ten. He understands the offense, and doubles as a running threat and a solid passer; his passing numbers were down last season because the Terps lost both starting wide receivers to broken legs in the same game. Rowe is a solid No. 2 guy.
Starter/backup: P.J. Walker/Connor Reilly
Buzz: The Owls were 2-10 last season, but they found a quarterback. Walker started seven games as a true freshman and threw for 2,084 yards and 20 TDs; he threw at least two TD passes in six of his starts. He also showed that he can be dangerous as a runner. The Owls have issues elsewhere — a lot of them, in fact — but quarterback isn’t one of them.
Starter/backup: Gunner Kiel/Jarred Evans
Buzz: The highly touted Kiel began his career at Notre Dame before transferring to Cincinnati and sitting out last season. He is a strong-armed guy who supposedly can make all the throws — and with accuracy. He also has good mobility, though asking him to throw on the run can lead to some difficulties. Cincinnati has a deep group of receivers, and those receivers should be living large with Kiel throwing the ball. Evans is a JC transfer who will have to hold off sixth-year senior Munchie Legaux, who missed most of last season with a broken leg, for the backup job.
Starter/backup: Joel Stave/Tanner McEvoy
Buzz: Stave is a returning starter who threw for 2,494 yards and 22 TDs last season. But he also tossed 13 interceptions and doesn’t appear to be a high-level quarterback. Thing is, as long as he cuts down on the picks, he should be fine for this run-oriented offense. But can he do that — and can he make a big pass when it is needed? McEvoy was a JC transfer last year; he was moved from quarterback to safety last season, then moved back to quarterback during the spring. Hey, where’s Russell Wilson when you need him?
Starter/backup: Casey Cochran/Chandler Whitmer
Buzz: Cochran started the final four games last season and — wonder of wonders — actually proved to be a quarterback who could throw the ball with some accuracy (one of those hadn’t been seen in a while on the UConn campus). Whitmer, who has started 16 games in the past two seasons, gives UConn an experienced backup, too. It’s true: UConn’s quarterback situation looks good for a change.
Starter/backup: Jacoby Brissett/Garrett Leatham
Buzz: Brissett sat out last season after transferring from Florida, and coaches think he can provide the steady quarterback play that was missing last season. Brissett (6-4, 236) has a good arm and understands the offense, but there is no established go-to receiver.
Starter/backup: Justin Holman/Pete DiNovo
Buzz: Holman backed up Blake Bortles last season and attempted 14 passes. Holman, who understands the offense and has a nice arm, will benefit from a lot of skill-position talent surrounding him. DiNovo will be pushed for the backup job by Boise State transfer Nick Patti, an Orlando native who transferred home in the offseason.
Starter/backup: Paxton Lynch/Jason Stewart
Buzz: Lynch (6-6, 225) is a big guy with a strong arm, and if he makes the normal progression expected from a sophomore, Memphis’ passing attack could be interesting. Lynch played at a small religious high school outside of Orlando and didn’t emerge as a prospect until late in his senior season of high school. He redshirted in 2012 and showed some signs last season of becoming a good college quarterback. Stewart is a JC transfer who went through spring ball and looked OK.
Starter/backup: Neal Burcham or Matt Davis
Buzz: Burcham started twice as an injury replacement as a redshirt freshman last season, but Davis — who originally signed with Texas A&M before spending last season at a junior college — arrived in May to shake things up. Davis was a highly regarded dual-threat guy out of high school, and playing him would add a different element to the offense because of his running ability. The flipside: Burcham is a dropback passer, which would seem to best fit what head coach June Jones wants in a quarterback.
Starter/backup: Dane Evans/Jabe Burgess
Buzz: Evans (6-4/210) started five games last season but completed just 43.1 percent of his passes and threw 10 picks and just four TD passes. Burgess is a freshman who went through spring drills. One positive: Tulsa looks to have a nice receiving corps. Continue Reading by Clicking Here
by Mike Huguenin | NFL.com
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