Nothing says ‘football’s back’ quite like the announcement of starting quarterbacks to open the season. Maybe the most-anticipated race for the starting job in the Mid-American Conference came in Toledo, having to replace Logan Woodside with one of Eli Peters or Mitch Guadagni. As it turns out, Muadagni’s the guy.
“It’s not one of those situations where Mitch will be looking over his shoulder if he makes a mistake,” Toledo head coach Jason Candle told the media Monday. Candle exhausted over how tight of a race it really was between the candidates, but hinted that Guadagni separated himself down the stretch with his accuracy and by the way the team rallied around him in practices.
LIVE: Toledo Football Press Conference — Jason Candle at the podium as the Rockets get ready for VMI. https://t.co/W5pLE7Js2V
— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) August 27, 2018
Guadagni might not have the arm that Woodside had, but Guadagni also probably has the legs that Woodside didn’t either. The quarterback is the main difference between this year’s and last year’s offense, and if Guadagni truly does play differently, Toledo will call different plays than it did last year. What those plays will look like will be interesting to see: 1. what they look like and 2. when the playbook starts to open up more. Starting the season up against Virginia Military Institute on Saturday, followed by a bye week, we’re clearly not going to see most of the playbook just yet.
The other two quarterback races around the conference are at Eastern Michigan, between Tyler Wiegers and Isaac Stiebeling, and Kent State, between Woody Barrett and Dustin Crum. The assumption heading into the season was that the newcomers for both teams, Wiegers and Barrett, would win their respective starting jobs.
When Chris Creighton and Sean Lewis were both separately asked who the starting quarterback for EMU and Kent State would be, respectively, they both answered the same way. Whoever breaks the huddle before the first play of the game will be the starting quarterback.
According to the depth charts that the two schools put out, Kent State’s top two options are still Barrett and Crum, but Stiebeling isn’t the second name in contention for EMU’s starting quarterback job. Instead, it’s Mike Glass III, who transferred via the junior college route last year and redshirted.
More depth chart notes
- Despite the hype, Toledo running back Bryant Koback is neither the first nor second-string running back. Koback has been practicing since he transferred in the winter, but it’s Shakif Seymour and Art Thompkins as the top two backs for the Rocket offense. Considering Koback is still a redshirt-freshman and the NCAA didn’t give him clearance until one month ago, this is probably not worth reading too much into.
- Is Scott Miller going to start at wide receiver for Bowling Green? Not too long ago, all signs pointed toward the senior receiver with multiple All-MAC honors would be getting most of the attention in the Falcon passing attack, but maybe it’s somebody else. The two-deep was edited on Tuesday and at Miller’s position, it says it’s him or incoming true freshman Noah Massey, who’s five inches taller and 60 pounds heavier than the aforementioned senior. I doubt this means that Massey will take over and leave no playing time for Miller, a proven asset to the team, but it does mean that Massey will get playing time this year. I assume that this also means that Massey will get more red zone opportunities than Miller, given the size differential, which is a pretty demanding role to put a first-year freshman into, but that’s what BG has been doing over the past couple of years under Mike Jinks.
- Another note in terms of true freshmen wide outs: Julian Ortega-Jones is listed as a backup receiver (or incoming JUCO transfer Jordan Wayne-Prather) behind sophomore Quintin Morris.
- Ohio’s only ‘or’ for a starting player is at left cornerback between two sophomores out of Miami, Fla. — Jamal Hudson and Marlin Brooks. The answer is probably definitely both.
- I’m going to ignore a lot of ‘or’s when it comes to second-string players, but one worth pointing out is that there’s one next to Ball State running back Caleb Huntley. Last year, Huntley eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing as a true freshman, but is now battling for the No. 2 spot with Malik Dunner. Not that anybody expects Malik Dunner to not see the field anyway, but it’ll be interesting to see if he gets more touches than Huntley in any game.
- Two true freshmen at Ball State crack the two-deep: Yo’Heinz Tyler is behind Riley Miller at their wide receiver spot and cornerback A.J. Uzodinma is right behind senior Josh Miller at cornerback.
- Two of the starting receivers at Buffalo are Anthony Johnson and K.J. Osborn. The third is either Antonio Nunn or George Rushing, who transferred from Wisconsin.
- NIU receiver Spencer Tears is suspended two games for a violation of team rules, so the starting receivers for NIU this week are Leon Payne, D.J. Brown and Cole Tucker.
- NIU defensive end Jack Cocoran, a senior who played in all but the final three games of last season, is not on the two-deep. Instead, it’ll be one of Matt Lorbeck or Quintin Wynne to start the other side of Sutton Smith.
- Two redshirt-freshmen will get the start for the two safety spots at CMU: Devonni Reed and Alonzo McCoy.
- Akron’s potential second-string tight end might be one of its starting defensive ends! Behind Newman Williams at that spot is either Maverick Wolfley or Brian Reinke. Reinke started every game as a defensive end last year, so this is a fun adjustment.
- The two starting defensive ends Akron has listed on its depth chart are Jamal Davis II and Josh Ward.
- Kent State’s starting a true freshman at left guard: Julian Sams.
- Blake Banham switched from running back to wide receiver for EMU and he’s currently listed as the starting slot receiver over incoming transfer Line Latu. Michael Thompson, another JUCO transfer, isn’t listed on the depth chart, but Arthur Jackson III is going to start at the Z receiver spot.
Kent State gets fancy
At the end of this Kent Wired report, there’s a little nugget that says Kent State will try something new. Every week, the Flashes will wear different uniform combinations.
The team will also incorporate new uniform combinations for each week, something the program has never done before.
“It’s something that is a big part of recruiting nowadays,” Lewis said of the uniforms. “Kids want to see different combinations; they want to have a lot of different options, so to speak, on gameday. To be able to have the agreement and the partnership that we have with Under Armour to where every single week we’re going to have 14 different combinations is a very unique deal to have.”
The new uniforms will be on display as the team opens its season at noon Saturday as they take on Illinois at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois.
Just as long as Kent State doesn’t have to wear the yellow-gold helmets with yellow-gold jerseys and yellow-gold pants, this should be neat.