Pre-Spring Look: Quarterbacks

How will the Bearcats look when spring practice starts at quarterback? We take our pre spring look at those who are now gone and who will have a chance to take the next step in their college career.

For the first time since this website hit the net in January of 2005 there is no question as to who will be the main quarterback for the University of Cincinnati when spring practice begins.  Tony Pike is not only a top quarterback returning in the Big East Conference, he's also a quarterback that NFL teams are looking hard at for the 2010 NFL Draft.

 

After having questions about the quarterback position going into last season, Brian Kelly has a clear cut favorite at the quarterback position for the first time since taking over the Bearcats football program.

 

Dustin Grutza is now out of options and Kelly has a solid battle tested quarterback in Tony Pike looking to improve his ability and not chasing a job.  But don't think Kelly is going to let Pike have an easy access to the job.  There is talent in the lower ranks and Kelly knows position battles make players better.

 

GONE

 

Dustin Grutza should be praised for his effort, desire and class shown during his five years with the Bearcats.  While the end may not have been what the former starting quarterback desired, he knew winning a Big East title came before personal achievements.  Grutza's leadership will be missed but the Bearcats look to be in very good shape at the quarterback position for the 2009 season.

 

MOVED

 

From all accounts former Notre Dame Quarterback Demetrius Jones will become a linebacker for the Bearcats.  You can never count out Jones as a possible quarterback but without showing much since coming to campus and Pike's continued improvement doesn't make this move a surprise.  Jones is a very good athlete and Brian Kelly is about putting athletes on the field.

 

RETURNING (** = Returning Starter)

 

Tony Pike **

Chazz Anderson **

Zach Collaros

Brendon Kay

Travis Kelce

 

KEY PLAYER

 

Tony Pike seems to have been in the program for a very long time.  While Pike has been around and at times showed the skills to be considered in the hunt he'd just never seemed to get over the hump.  That all changed when Dustin Grutza went down with an injury and Pike was the starting quarterback for the Bearcats.

 

But fate almost took away Pike's chance to keep the starters role as he also went down with an injury to miss a couple of weeks.  In the end Tony Pike became Brian Kelly's guy and the rest will go down in Bearcats history as the biggest season to date.

 

This is Tony Pike's team unless he's lost to an injury.  Big things are expected out of the Reading High School product and his winter of work will be shown this spring.

 

Built with a strong arm and the ability to roll out of the pocket and hit his receivers, Pike's stock is climbing with many NFL scouts keeping an eye open.

 

But don't think Brian Kelly won't push and test Pike in practice.  He knows the importance of having a quarterback understanding each and every phase of his offense to the overall success of the team.

 

THE REST

 

Chazz Anderson earned a starters role as Grutza and Pike went down with injuries.  He learned from his time as a starter but also didn't show enough for Brian Kelly to keep him as the starter as the season progressed.  Spring practice should see Anderson taking the next steps towards being a solid backup for the fall but any falloff could also see him take several steps backwards on the depth chart.

 

Zach Collaros also got a few reps during the injury time for Grutza and Pike.  While it wasn't as a starter it was still valuable snaps that should help the Steubenville product take the next steps in his development.  This is a big spring for Collaros as two young guns will be itching for the chance to show what they're capable of doing. 

 

The move to allow Collaros to play baseball isn't much of a surprise since he's a very good baseball player, but keep in mind this could also spell out the fact the Bearcats staff feels Zach isn't the guy to be the main backup.  It's a risk on his part as many feel this was his chance to take the next steps in his career.

 

Brendon Kay has great size and physical tools to be an outstanding quarterback.  The Marine City (MI) High School product missed rep work last fall working on an injury but this spring don't be surprised if Kay passes up one or both of the veterans on the depth charts.  He's young and still has a lot to learn but someone will need to be ready to take over for the 2010 season.  If you want to see a strong arm than Brendon Kay is your guy.  As a high school product he impressed the coaching staff with one of the strongest arms they've seen.

 

Travis Kelce also fought some injuries last fall that cost him some rep time in practice.  But like Kay there is much expected out of the Cleveland Heights (Ohio) High School product.  Kelce is a lot like Kay in the fact he's got great physical size and has seen some on the Bearcats coaching staff compare him to Ben Roethlisberger in what his potential may be.  A strong showing in the spring could push Kelce behind Pike going into camp.

 

INSIDER OUTLOOK

 

Since our first spring practice in 2005 we've covering the quarterback position has always been front and center.  This is the first spring you can say and know a quarterback is the clear front runner to be the starter for the Bearcats in the fall.  But there will be major battles at this position as a backup must be found and the future of the program after Tony Pike could start to take shape.  Don't be surprised by any moves as one of the freshmen or both could push themselves up the depth chart and past the two veterans by springs end.

 

FALL BRINGS

 

The Bearcats didn't sign a quarterback in the Class of 2009.  But with Brian Kelly being one of the top coaches players want to play for a possible player looking for a fresh start could always be possible.

 

PRE-SPRING GRADE: A

 

With Tony Pike being the clear starter things look to be great for the Bearcats going into spring practice.  Pike has all the tools and this spring will have more reps to continue his improvement in all phases of his game.  The battles between the remaining four will have fans talking and while much should be expected out of the two redshirt freshmen, the veterans know about competing and fighting for a job.

 

BIG SPRING

 

Tony Pike has enjoyed some good spring moments in the past.  But this spring is for him to shine like never before as he'll go in as the clear #1 quarterback.  Everything should be aligned for Pike to have the biggest spring of his career as NFL scouts will be sure to visit looking at how he's progressing.

 

NEEDS A BIG SPRING

 

Chazz Anderson and Zach Collaros have to feel the pressure of knowing two hot-shot quarterbacks with great physical tools are on their heels.  There is no room for errors as both have been in the system and should be ready to show their best each and every practice.  If one falls behind they will lose their chance to push for a spot higher on the depth chart.


Bearcat Insider Top Stories