Spring Breakdown: Quarterbacks

After entering the 2005 season with eight quarterbacks, the Bearcats now have a more workable number at the most important position on the field. We breakdown the position entering spring practice that opens next week.

Last season the staff of Bearcat Insider knew what position would be the most watched during spring drills. With the graduation of Gino Guidugli, Cincinnati Bearcat fans wondered who would take the place of one of the All-Time Bearcats greats for Coach Mark Dantonio.

The answer was given by our staff early as Dustin Grutza showed he had the knowledge and athletic ability to withstand the charge of Junior College transfer Nick Davila throughout the spring and into fall camp.

The 2005 season saw the two quarterbacks take the field as Grutza would start all eleven games and Davila would play in five games total. But don't believe for a minute the job will be handed over to Grutza for the 2006 season. Both quarterbacks have skill and new quarterback coach Dave Warner has made it clear the position is open for battle again this spring.

What should Bearcat fans expect to see this spring? We break it down.


Dustin Grutza

(Sophomore) Having won the job last spring and holding off Davila throughout the season, the Kentucky native ended the season with some nice stats. But stats are not going to be looked at this spring as the team takes the field and Davila feels the pressure of seeing his senior season approach. Despite playing behind a questionable offensive line Grutza showed the ability to throw the football while running for his life. While hitting on 56% of his passes (168-300-11int) Grutza saw his feet also carry the football 106 times. Many of these carries were not designed run plays, but plays where breakdowns along the line forced him to leave the pocket. With a net of 28 yards, any improvement along the o-line should help Grutza have even better passing stats. The biggest question mark for Grutza will be his ability to adjust to a new quarterback coach since he's only had Dan Enos for his first two seasons. The biggest area of improvement for Grutza has come in the weight room. The once thin Grutza is now a thicker and stronger athlete after hitting the weight room hard this winter.


Nick Davila

(Senior) This is it for the California native. My how time flies as just a year ago many fans expected big things from the JUCO transfer. While he didn't post the numbers fans expected or earn the starting position, he also didn't fall on his face. In fact he showed the strength and ability needed to play at the D-I level and is expected to push Grutza hard this spring. A pure pocket passer, Davila showed Bearcat fans signs of what he can do in five games by hitting just over 57% of his 45 passes (26-45-2 int). Like Grutza, the change at quarterback coach will be a major challenge for Davila. But after working hard this winter Davila should now know the offense better and feel more comfortable under center and in his surroundings. Any slip by Grutza and Davila should be ready to pounce and take the starting position away.


Craig Carey

(Redshirt Freshman) The Cincinnati Elder product may enter the spring as a wildcard but shouldn't be taken lightly by either of the veterans. With the ideal size (6'4) to go with his strong passing arm, Carey sat back and dressed for all home and away games last season. This spring should allow Carey the chance to show Bearcat fans he's got the tools needed to be the quarterback for the future. While we fully expect Grutza and Davila to hold onto the top two positions, any injury or setback will allow Carey to push forward and maybe even ahead of them. A good spring could also push Carey into the hunt for the starting job by the time the team heads to Camp Higher Ground.


Tony Pike

(Redshirt Freshman) Pike, like Carey has the height many coaches want from their quarterbacks and arm strength to match it. The gunslinger from Reading High School saw a small setback with an injury but should be strong this spring and ready to push forward. While we don't expect his battles to be with Grutza or Davila, he should be considered a strong contender in pushing Carey for the number three spot on the roster.


Kurt Shoemaker

(Sophomore) The Akron transfer sat out last season under NCAA rules, but did work with the scout team. After a great high school career at Anderson High School, Shoemaker will be a long-shot this spring but will see enough reps to learn where he stands with the four other possible quarterbacks.

LEFT PROGRAM

Todd Spitzer: (Junior) Spitzer made the choice to leave after feeling he didn't have a chance to earn the starting position as Grutza and Davila passed him by last season. A quarterback with great physical size and ability to play the position never got comfortable with the offense and wanted to be able to show his ability for two seasons. Spitzer left the program at the start of the year and entered a D-I-AA program where he could be pushing for the starting position this spring and next fall.

CHANGE POSITION

While last spring saw Grutza, Davila, Spitzer and Pike fighting it out, fans were waiting on the arrival of Carey, Goodman and Wess. Since the start of last fall only Carey is still at the position. Goodman moved to receiver and earned much playing time. Wess moved to safety last year but look for a possible position change again this spring.

OVERALL

There you have it. Five quarterback looking to earn the starting position. While we fully expect Grutza and Davila to hold onto their one-two status, we also feel Carey and Pike could make moves on the depth chart or at least make the most out of spring drills. Unlike last spring where there were so many questions to be asked, this spring will see a different feel when looking at the quarterback position. Two quarterbacks are now on the roster that have played in D-I games, and both have shown the ability to make plays. With no quarterbacks signed in this past recruiting class, fans should know what to expect next fall when the Bearcats walk off the field April 22nd.


Inside The Bearcats Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"\r\n

Last season the staff of Bearcat Insider knew what position would be the most \r\nwatched during spring drills. With the graduation of Gino Guidugli, Cincinnati \r\nBearcat fans wondered who would take the place of one of the All-Time Bearcats \r\ngreats for Coach Mark Dantonio.

\r\n

The answer was given by our staff early as Dustin Grutza showed he had the \r\nknowledge and athletic ability to withstand the charge of Junior College \r\ntransfer Nick Davila throughout the spring and into fall camp.

\r\n

The 2005 season saw the two quarterbacks take the field as Grutza would start \r\nall eleven games and Davila would play in five games total. But don't believe \r\nfor a minute the job will be handed over to Grutza for the 2006 season. Both \r\nquarterbacks have skill and new quarterback coach Dave Warner has made it clear \r\nthe position is open for battle again this spring.

\r\n

What should Bearcat fans expect to see this spring? We break it down.

\r\n

\r\n


\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Dustin Grutza

\r\n

\"\"

\r\n

(Sophomore) Having won the job last spring and holding off Davila throughout \r\nthe season, the Kentucky native ended the season with some nice stats. But stats \r\nare not going to be looked at this spring as the team takes the field and Davila \r\nfeels the pressure of seeing his senior season approach. Despite playing behind \r\na questionable offensive line Grutza showed the ability to throw the football \r\nwhile running for his life. While hitting on 56% of his passes (168-300-11int) \r\nGrutza saw his feet also carry the football 106 times. Many of these carries \r\nwere not designed run plays, but plays where breakdowns along the line forced \r\nhim to leave the pocket. With a net of 28 yards, any improvement along the \r\no-line should help Grutza have even better passing stats. The biggest question \r\nmark for Grutza will be his ability to adjust to a new quarterback coach since \r\nhe's only had Dan Enos for his first two seasons. The biggest area of \r\nimprovement for Grutza has come in the weight room. The once thin Grutza is now \r\na thicker and stronger athlete after hitting the weight room hard this \r\nwinter.

\r\n

\r\n


\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Nick Davila

\r\n

\"\"

\r\n

(Senior) This is it for the California native. My how time flies as just a \r\nyear ago many fans expected big things from the JUCO transfer. While he didn't \r\npost the numbers fans expected or earn the starting position, he also didn't \r\nfall on his face. In fact he showed the strength and ability needed to play at \r\nthe D-I level and is expected to push Grutza hard this spring. A pure pocket \r\npasser, Davila showed Bearcat fans signs of what he can do in five games by \r\nhitting just over 57% of his 45 passes (26-45-2 int). Like Grutza, the change at \r\nquarterback coach will be a major challenge for Davila. But after working hard \r\nthis winter Davila should now know the offense better and feel more comfortable \r\nunder center and in his surroundings. Any slip by Grutza and Davila should be \r\nready to pounce and take the starting position away.

\r\n

\r\n


\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Craig Carey

\r\n

\"\"

\r\n

(Redshirt Freshman) The Cincinnati Elder product may enter the spring as a \r\nwildcard but shouldn't be taken lightly by either of the veterans. With the \r\nideal size (6'4) to go with his strong passing arm, Carey sat back and dressed \r\nfor all home and away games last season. This spring should allow Carey the \r\nchance to show Bearcat fans he's got the tools needed to be the quarterback for \r\nthe future. While we fully expect Grutza and Davila to hold onto the top two \r\npositions, any injury or setback will allow Carey to push forward and maybe even \r\nahead of them. A good spring could also push Carey into the hunt for the \r\nstarting job by the time the team heads to Camp Higher Ground.

\r\n

\r\n


\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Tony Pike

\r\n

\"\"

\r\n

(Redshirt Freshman) Pike, like Carey has the height many coaches want from \r\ntheir quarterbacks and arm strength to match it. The gunslinger from Reading \r\nHigh School saw a small setback with an injury but should be strong this spring \r\nand ready to push forward. While we don't expect his battles to be with Grutza \r\nor Davila, he should be considered a strong contender in pushing Carey for the \r\nnumber three spot on the roster.

\r\n

\r\n


\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Kurt Shoemaker

\r\n

\"\"

\r\n

(Sophomore) The Akron transfer sat out last season under NCAA rules, but did \r\nwork with the scout team. After a great high school career at Anderson High \r\nSchool, Shoemaker will be a long-shot this spring but will see enough reps to \r\nlearn where he stands with the four other possible quarterbacks.

\r\n

LEFT PROGRAM

\r\n

Todd Spitzer: (Junior) Spitzer made the choice to leave after feeling he \r\ndidn't have a chance to earn the starting position as Grutza and Davila passed \r\nhim by last season. A quarterback with great physical size and ability to play \r\nthe position never got comfortable with the offense and wanted to be able to \r\nshow his ability for two seasons. Spitzer left the program at the start of the \r\nyear and entered a D-I-AA program where he could be pushing for the starting \r\nposition this spring and next fall.

\r\n

CHANGE POSITION

\r\n

While last spring saw Grutza, Davila, Spitzer and Pike fighting it out, fans \r\nwere waiting on the arrival of Carey, Goodman and Wess. Since the start of last \r\nfall only Carey is still at the position. Goodman moved to receiver and earned \r\nmuch playing time. Wess moved to safety last year but look for a possible \r\nposition change again this spring.

\r\n

OVERALL

\r\n

There you have it. Five quarterback looking to earn the starting position. \r\nWhile we fully expect Grutza and Davila to hold onto their one-two status, we \r\nalso feel Carey and Pike could make moves on the depth chart or at least make \r\nthe most out of spring drills. Unlike last spring where there were so many \r\nquestions to be asked, this spring will see a different feel when looking at the \r\nquarterback position. Two quarterbacks are now on the roster that have played in \r\nD-I games, and both have shown the ability to make plays. With no quarterbacks \r\nsigned in this past recruiting class, fans should know what to expect next fall \r\nwhen the Bearcats walk off the field April 22nd.

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