Heavner the starter...for now

For now Kris Heavner is the guy. After three weeks of spring practice, the sophomore quarterback learned that he will be the No. 1 quarterback heading into the fall. It doesn't mean he'll get the starting gig against NAU, but it is now his job to lose.

Heavner beat out Ryan O'Hara, Nic Costa and Richard Kovalcheck for the job. In the end it was his consistency that one him the job. Arguably he has the most raw ability, but the coaches claim that he has the job because of what he has done, not what he can do.

"We wanted to put Kris in there with the ones (first team)," Mike Stoops said. "He's showed the most consistency through the first couple of scrimmages and team settings. We wanted to build some continuity with our offense."

Although it becomes an up-hill battle for the other three quarterbacks, they are not out of luck. They have the rest of spring drills and the start of fall camp to show the coaches that they, and not Heavner are the right guy.

"Obviously the position is still very open," Stoops said "We'll give all three an opportunity. He (Heavner) has shown the most poise and ability to consistently move our football team."

The rest of the passers have not been slotted. Offensive coordinator Mike Canales does not want to discourage the other passers any more than he already has. In fact, he'll use their reactions to help determine who the back-up is, and if Heavner falters, who the starter is.

"We're going to keep playing around with that and hopefully they'll keep pushing Kris," Stoops said. "Again, this battle is in no way closed. These guys will have an opportunity to continue to compete for the position."

All four seemed to take the news in stride. For Heavner it was not a reason to get excited. He knows that he has to keep working, because his teammates are trying to knock him off.

"I feel the same," Heavner admitted. "I still have to go out and compete even harder. I know each day I came out to work hard."

On the surface the rest of the passers are saying all the right things. Despite what had to be a pretty crushing blow, the other three have remained positive.

"I still feel I am in the mix," Kovalcheck said. "A lot can happen between now and then. Experience is important, I have to learn and keep getting better every day."

"I don't think anything is set in stone," O'Hara added. "I am definitely not giving up on anything. I am not really frustrated. I will continue to work hard and see what happens."

The player who seemed most upbeat also has the most options. Speculation has raged about Nic Costa changing positions and he addressed it for the first time to the media. While he isn't ready to abandon the quarterback position just yet, he does realize he could see the field in other ways.

"Coach Stoops and I have talked about it that if it didn't workout at the end of the spring we will have to sit down and decide if playing quarterback is the best decision for me," Costa explained. "We are not quite there yet. There is still a lot of evaluating there. I am still trying to get into the top two and compete in the fall."

Canales was not ready to write off Costa's chances to play quarterback, but he did admit that he has considered the possibilities of a player who can run a 4.3, bench press 400 pounds and throw the ball 70 yards. "We are going to use Nic," Canales said. "At NC State we had a kid Olen Hammen--we used him as a receiver----counter, run, option.--he is that type of kid. He is a great athlete. We have to have him on the field. He might be one of our best 11 players. We are crazy to keep him on the sidelines. You have to find a way to get him on the field and use him."

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