North Texas Daily

New QB class brings competition to vacant position

New QB class brings competition to vacant position

New QB class brings competition to vacant position
February 10
23:48 2014

Ehsan Azad // Staff Writer

Senior quarterback Derek Thompson is graduating from UNT, paving the way for a four-man race to the starting position next season.

The team recruited two more quarterbacks, freshman Connor Means and sophomore Josh Greer, and junior Andrew McNulty and freshman Dajon Williams return after backing up Thompson last year. The incoming players have potential on their side, while the latter look to utilize their experience at UNT to take the lead.

“You talk about wide open and with Josh and Connor coming in here, I think it’s going to be really fun for our fans and coaches to watch the quarterback competition,” head coach Dan McCarney said.

Each candidate has big shoes to fill, since Thompson had the starting quarterback position since the 2011 season. Physical and mental toughness along with leadership skills are some of the main qualities the team will evaluate when choosing the new starter.

“If he can manage the game, move the chains, get first downs and put points up on the board… I mean that’s what you always look for in a quarterback,” offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Canales said.

Canales, who helped develop San Diego Chargers’ quarterback Phillip Rivers at North Carolina State University, agrees that the position is wide open and that only McNulty has a slight advantage because he has been in the system and knows the offense.

“He has been a backup, but he hasn’t been on the field much, so he has to catch up,” Canales said. “Dajon has been in the system, but he needs more reps and the young guys are hungry to just get out here.”

McNulty said his experience going through the system last season and learning from Thompson has helped him develop his game. However, he knows seniority won’t automatically put him in the starting spot and he has to improve his overall abilities next season.

“We know every single day we have to go out there and push each other and ourselves to prove that we can be the starter and be out there on game day,” McNulty said. “I am looking forward to it, but like I said, when we step on that field it is a competition and we are all going for that one spot.”

Williams said he edged out Thompson in mobility and arm strength, and he also isn’t worried about the new quarterbacks coming next year.

“I just welcome the competition,” Williams said. “Whatever they can do, I can do better. That’s how I look at it.”

Means and Greer knew it would be an open field race for the starting quarterback spot next season. The chance to play immediately was one of the reasons UNT was an appealing choice for them.

“With Derek leaving, this quarterback competition is wide open, so that was a main thing for me, seeing that I have a shot to play three years right away at great program that has already established themselves,” Greer said.

The other recruit, Connor Means, is confident he can take over the starting spot as well.

“There is no need to worry, I am here to do my thing and they are here to theirs, just let the best man win,” Means said.

The coaching staff said the competition will be very close and they don’t have in mind a player that has stood out above the rest just yet. The team isn’t looking to rush with the decision at all, since the team has until next season’s regular season opening game on Aug. 30 against the University of Texas in Austin to decide.

“They all have talent, but who is going to rise, who’s going to learn the system the fastest, who’s going to move the team down to move the chains and that’s what it is all about,” Canales said. “The best player is going to play, regardless of who it is.”

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