The Cincinnati Bearcats football squad held their first football practice of the season today in the Sheakley bubble. Although an early start to the season, some players seemed refreshed and ready to go and some seemed a little sluggish out the gate. But it's expected that all the players will be on the same page as spring practices progress. But the biggest story besides the start of the spring football is the battle for the starting quarterback position between redshirt sophomore Notre Dame-transfer Gunner Kiel and junior college transfer Jarred Evans. Kiel seems to be leading the race as of right now for the starting QB position considering that he has had a year's worth of experience with the playbook compared to Evans' three months.
After sitting out the 2013 season due to NCAA transfer rules, the time for Gunner Kiel to rise as the potential star of the Bearcats is finally here. Although the Bearcats finished 18th in the nation in passing yards, Kiel is surely an upgrade from Brendon Kay, who was the team's main signal-caller this past year. While Kay passed for over 3,300 yards, he also threw 12 interceptions and failed to show up in big games such as the final game of the regular season against Louisville and the Belk Bowl against North Carolina. Against the Tar Heels was Kay's most miserable showing completing less than 45 percent of his throws and only 181 yards passing.
Kiel played in the Army All-American game and was an Elite 11 quarterback along with the likes of Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston. But with his deadly accurate arm and a gun for an arm (pun intended), expect Kiel to be a great addition and play very well in Tommy Tuberville's spread offense. Insider caught up with Kiel after practice and talked about finally being able to suit up for football.
"It's a great feeling. To actually get some reps and playing with the guys is such a great feeling and I just can't wait for the season to start," said Kiel.
When asked about being the potential face of the Bearcats. "I'm just getting my opportunity day-by-day to prove myself and coach Tuberville will do what's best for the team," Kiel said.
Kiel's competition Jarred Evans is a junior college transfer from Santa Barbara Community College who last year threw for 1,522 yards and 12 touchdowns. But Evans is much more of a dual-threat quarterback than Kiel is. As for the competition, Evans is very much up for the challenge.
"I'm a very competitive person so I love this situation that I am in," Evans said in an interview with Insider. "But I am up for the challenge and listen to the advice that Tuberville provides me. I know that being a little far from home is a little bit of a challenge. But I feel that coming here to UC gave me the best opportunity to have legitimate playing time."