Right now the Quarterback position is a question mark for the UConn Huskies.
Each of the three guys jockeying for the starting job started four games last year, only one of them won a game, and yet nobody has been able to separate from the pack after spring practices and two weeks of camp. We have some hints as to which direction Bob Diaco will be taking this decision, and Diaco has said that regardless of the fact that no one has stood out, the QB will not be the reason we lose games this year. I am somewhat skeptical of those comments, but also inclined to believe him because I think the ball will be in a running backs hands as much as possible.
Diaco has also said that multiple quarterbacks will play, which still doesn't make very much sense to me since all three quarterbacks appear to be traditional pocket passers.
Here's who we have on the roster right now under center:
RS SO Casey Cochran, 6'1", 217 lbs.
The only starting QB to win a game last year, Casey Cochran had an advantage going into the start of the Bob Diaco era with his consistent and heady play to finish the 2013 season. Cochran was a 3-star recruit from Masuk High in Monroe, CT who redshirted after sustaining an injury his first year on campus.
I think Cochran benefited greatly from playing his four games against the easiest stretch of last year's schedule. There was a Temple win which required a defensive touchdown to complete a 21-point comeback but to his credit Cochran did put up two really good performances against both Rutgers and Memphis. It was clearly a better team than the one that lost (badly) to Towson and Buffalo.
Bob Diaco has said that if no quarterback stands out during practice he will go with the one with the best intangibles-- I have to imagine that person is Casey Cochran. Look for him to be the starter Week 1 against BYU.
RS SR Chandler Whitmer, 6'0", 192 lbs.
Redshirt senior Chandler Whitmer was the starter for UConn's 5-7 2012 season and last year's hideous 0-4 start. He was benched after the firing of Paul Pasqualoni, but has the benefit of a clean slate this year. Whitmer considered leaving the program to play somewhere else, but ultimately elected to stay at UConn. You may recall he was a community college transfer who left Illinois after a year before coming to Storrs.
My guess would be that Whitmer's role this year is purely as a back-up. If Diaco actually plans on using two QB's I don't see how it benefits him for one of them to be Whitmer if it looks like all three are at relatively the same level of play. However, if someone goes down to injury, he can provide a steady veteran presence.
SO Tim Boyle, 6'3", 216 lbs.
Considered the most athletically gifted QB on the roster, Tim Boyle took over for Chandler Whitmer after the firing of Paul Pasqualoni. He had the unfortunate circumstance of facing UCF, Louisville and Cincinnati during that stretch. After four losses in four games, Casey Cochran took over.
Boyle is in the precarious situation of being in the same class as likely starter Casey Cochran. If Cochran claims a stronghold on the starting job, then what of Boyle's long-term prospects with the team?
By starting Cochran and also playing Boyle, Diaco would be able to develop both QB's and we'd be better off for the future. In a perfect world Boyle is a redshirt freshman and this is what happens. But because Boyle's redshirt was burned last year, it isn't unreasonable to think that Diaco may want to find a way to keep Boyle eligible for one more year after Cochran is done.
So the other possibility is that Whitmer is the second guy and Diaco is hoping to redshirt Tim Boyle this year. This would at least put some daylight between Cochran and Boyle's time here. We are so very in the dark right now so anything is possible.
RS FR Bryant Shirreffs, 6'3", 233 lbs.
Bryant Shirreffs is a transfer from NC State who will be sitting out this year per NCAA transfer rules. He saw limited action in one year with the Wolfpack out of the wildcat formation. Shirreffs will be able to practice this year and since he actually plays a different style than the other quarterbacks on the roster I could see him being part of a platoon next year.
RS FR Will Rishell, 5'10", 185 lbs.
Will Rishell is a walk-on who played at RHAM High in Hebron, Connecticut.
So that's the rundown folks. We should have a starter and a clearer picture of how and where these pieces all fit by Monday. Stay tuned.