The Cal Poly quarterback situation seems finally settled after a four-way battle that spanned nearly the entire offseason.
Mustangs head coach Tim Walsh showed confidence in junior starter Vince Moraga and said he isn’t planning on platooning quarterbacks in today’s season opener against San Diego.
“I don’t think that’s fair, and I don’t think it’s right,” Walsh said. “If I planned that, and Vince played really well, and then I yanked him and put somebody else in, that’s not fair to the team. If we’re playing well, that guy’s going to continue to play.”
Not every Big Sky Conference team has said the same in similar quarterback battles.
Walsh took the decision to name Moraga the starter and order the remainder of the depth chart from the start of spring drills in April all the way into the final week of fall training camp.
If that felt like a long wait for closure, picture North Dakota and Weber State, two Big Sky teams still unsettled under center going into their first games.
Prior to North Dakota’s 69-10 victory over Valparaiso on Thursday, head coach Chris Mussman said both Ryan Bartels and Joe Mollberg — two redshirt freshmen —would each get a chance to play.
In the game, Bartels started and went 10 for 12 with 212 yards and a touchdown. Mollberg was 6 of 7 for 74 yards.
On Tuesday, Mussman echoed similar sentiments to Walsh, while declaring his intention to allow the battle to continue into the game.
“I can’t have them looking over their shoulder,” Mussman said. “They can’t fear the mistake. So, if one of them throws a pick, I’m not yanking him and throwing the other kid in there. I’m going to put him right back out there because that’s how you build confidence in your kids. You don’t tear them down.”
Coming off a 2-9 season, the situation at Weber State is even more unique.
The Wildcats will go with senior Jordan Adamczyk, who’s started only a single game in his career as a backup. He was supposed to be challenged by junior college transfer Alfonso Medina, a record-setting QB from Santa Monica College, but Medina is no longer with the team after a falling out that has been kept vague by head coach Jody Sears.
Adamczyk did pass 12 times as a reserve last season, completing eight attempts. Sears also said he plans to play true freshman Austin Chipoletti.
Few teams have success with two-quarterback systems, but 2012 Big Sky co-champion Eastern Washington is a recent example.
Though sophomore Vernon Adams is the unquestioned starter this season, he split time evenly and effectively with senior Kyle Padron last year.
In a seemingly random substitution pattern, Adams played in 12 of the team’s 14 games, while Padron played in 11. Each of them had standout regular-season and postseason performances in leading the Eagles to the semifinals of the FCS playoffs, where they lost 45-42 to Sam Houston State.
Like many, however, Walsh prefers to stick to one quarterback if possible.
“Vince is going to play,” Walsh said, “and if he plays well, then that’s going to be good for us.”