A Quick Glance: Quarterbacks

Arizona comes into the fall without a quarterback controversy for the first time since 2002. The Cats are not deep or experienced at the spot, but there is a lot of potential.

Quarterbacks

Starters Returning: (1) Richard Kovalcheck
Starters Lost: (1) Kris Heavner (transfer)
Key Returners: Adam Austin
Others Lost: Nic Costa (transfer), Ryan O'Hara (left program)
Key Newcomer: Willie Tuitama
Coach: Mike Canales (2nd season)

Kovalcheck enters the fall penciled in as the starter. It would take a major collapse or a near perfect performance from one of the other players to knock him off the roost. Austin took all the snaps in the spring and will push Kovalcheck. At worst he showed that he is a more than capable back-up. Tuitama comes in with a ton of hype and talent. He may have the most raw skills of any of the three, but still has a long way to go in terms of development.

Depth chart:

  Player Year HT WT Hometown
1. Richard Kovalcheck RS So. 6-2 211 San Diego, CA (St. Augustine)
2. Adam Austin RS Jr. 6-3 213 Mundelein (High School), IL
3. Willie Tuitama Fr. 6-2 212 Stockton, CA (St. Mary's)

2004 Stats:

ATT   COMP   YRDS   TD   INT  Rating
Kovalcheck 168 80 1039 6 7 103

Position Notes: Kovalcheck was 2-3 as a starter. He saw his first action in week six against Oregon and was named the starter the next week against Cal. Arizona enters this fall with just one experienced quarterback. Last year they had three players who had made college starts competing for the job. This year they have just one player who has attempted a collegiate pass. The Cats had three passers leave the program since last September. Adam Austin was awarded a scholarship in January. Three players threw passes last season, Kovalcheck, Heavner and punter Danny Baugher. With Heavner at the helm the team averaged 10 points a game, but just 7.8 points a game against D-IA teams. Kovalcheck averaged 15.7 ppg and that includes the shutout at the hands of Cal in his first collegiate start.

Player Notes:

Kovalcheck: Completed his senior season in high school with 2,600 yards passing and 19 touchdowns in leading St. Augustine to the CIF San Diego Section championship game…Threw for more than 7,000 yards and 70 touchdowns in his career at St. Augustine High School...

Austin: Took almost every snap in the spring…He was 27-50 for 370 two touchdowns and four picks…Earned a scholarship in January after traveling with the team as walk-on for two seasons.

Tuitama: Scout.com four-star and No. 10 QB ranking... Senior year he completed 158 of 254 passes for 2,734 yards and phenomenal 32 touchdowns, with only 7 interceptions... Led Stockton St. Mary's to California's Division I sectional championship, beating Nevada Union of Grass Valley, Calif., 50-45 with Tuitama completing his last 11 passes. He had no incompletions in the second half... Team finished 13-1 and Tuitama led the league in passing yards, completing 17 of 23 passes for career highs of 312 yards and five touchdowns in his final prep game.

Class Breakdown: Sr: 0, Jr: 1, So: 1 RS Fr: 0 Fr: 1

E-mail Brad at bradallis@msn.com


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