We know from the conclusion of spring football that UConn's quarterback competition is expected to run through the summer. At that time, there were two serious candidates: newly-eligible transfer Bryant Shirreffs and junior Tim Boyle.
Junior college transfer Garrett Anderson joined the team this month and has as good a chance as any of the aforementioned competitors of earning the starting job this summer. Coming in as a junior, I doubt Anderson would be here if he didn't feel as though this were true. He has a couple of distinct advantages over the rest of the competition, which is why he might end up standing out.
None of the other passers on the roster has seen as much live action as Anderson over the past two years. In two seasons at Laney Junior College, one as the starter, he threw for over 1,500 yards and 24 touchdowns. Even though the experience was at the junior college level, I think this gives Anderson a leg up on Shirreffs, who sat out last year and was used sparingly the year before. It also appears as though Anderson has a stronger arm than Shirreffs, which will help UConn stretch the field.
On paper, it would seem that Tim Boyle gives UConn the best chance to win. The former 3-star recruit is now a junior, he has the most experience in a UConn uniform, has got a cannon for an arm and is fully healthy for the first time in a while. If he can improve his decision-making in the pocket and get better protection from the offensive line, he should be the answer.
Unfortunately, there is little evidence to support the dream of better pass protection from the offensive line this year.
Could we perhaps see another split? Last year it seemed to make very little sense to split time between two pocket passers, but this year, one of Shirreffs or Anderson could share time with Boyle. This would help keep defenses on their feet with two unique styles under center and help UConn maximize its talent at the position. With three people vying for the starting job, it wouldn't surprise me to hear Bob say that nobody won it outright just like last year.
Still, there is a strong possibility that Anderson wins the job. His greatest strength is being able to throw on the run, a talent which UConn may need to tap into over and over this year. If he proves he can handle himself the best under heavy pressure, and keep defenses honest with a big arm, I could see him being the full-time starter.
Watch Anderson's highlight reel. You'll see an escapability and knack for improvisation that would serve a quarterback well behind UConn's offensive line. He also has great size and durability which will come in handy.
Garrett Anderson chose UConn over Houston and Colorado State for his final two years of NCAA eligibility. Houston is coached by former longtime Ohio State OC Tom Herman, and Colorado State now has former Georgia OC Mike Bobo at the helm. If those guys wanted a quarterback, and UConn got him, fans should feel pretty happy about it. I think by the end of the season there is a very good chance Anderson will be the one taking the majority of the snaps.
Who do you think ends up taking the most snaps under center this year? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!