Most fifth-year seniors aren’t rookies, but Zach Kline is a rookie in the Fresno State program.
The word out of summer workouts was that Kline could make a serious push for the starting job. Fresno State's quarterback quandary is down to two quarterbacks - Virgil and Kline - but comments from the staff indicate that the order is, No. 1 Virgil and No. 2 Kline. Kline has impressed and appears to be the best of the veteran, power-five transfers that the 'Dogs have taken over each of the last three years yet hope remains that Virgil can be the long-term solution.
In the public’s only look at Kline - 12 pass attempts in the open scrimmage - he did show the capability of leading the offense in 2016. He completed nine of 12 of those attempts for 69 yards. It was an efficient and mistake-free performance. Kline has a quick zip on his passes and while he may not be as fast on his feet as Virgil, his decision are quick in the pocket - something that you need when in the spread and something the Bulldogs have lacked since Derek Carr’s departure.
“That’s an older veteran who has been in some programs before. He knows what it takes and how to study - he’s always writing notes and asking questions. We’re going to try to get him more reps because he’s doing really well.” - Fresno State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eric Kiesau
Second team - Virgil appears to be the coaches’ guy to start this season, but it’s not over yet. Virgil is still a redshirt freshman and the Bulldogs need to bounce back with more wins this season. If the youngster struggles, Kline is a ready and capable answer for the ‘Dogs.
James Quentin Davis
Quentin Davis has put on one of the better true freshman fall camp performances in recent Fresno State history, but Davis is not likely to contribute at this point. He was spotted leaving practice last week without pads and it was later revealed that he is suffering from some shoulder problems - though he was back to drills prior to Saturday's scrimmage.
Whether or not Davis’s shoulder is the cause, there is some concern about his arm strength. Some questioned his throwing motion on the first day while his arm strength appeared to be lacking in the opening scrimmage. His pass that was pick-sixed by Mike Bell seemed to linger in the air. Sources have told BarkBoard that the Bulldogs offense had some of its best flashes in practice with him in charge - so a healthy, more mature and coached-up Davis could be a viable option in 2017. Davis ran a similar offense in high school as to what new Fresno State Offensive Coordinator Eric Kiesau is running and has been a quick learner.
Despite Davis’s successes on the field, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to throw him out on the field this year. Virgil continues to be the lead-man in the competition while fifth-year graduate transfer Zach Kline is the much safer option as the next option.
“For a freshman, he’s doing really good. He goes in there running with the two’s, he is very calm, cool and collected. He’s played in a very similar offense. It was for him to learn the terminology. He’s just young and making young mistakes which is kind of expected a little bit. His composure and how he’s handling himself, he’s doing a really good job.” - Kiesau
Redshirt - Davis spends his freshman year playing wait-and-see. If Virgil cements himself as the quarterback of the future, Davis will have to do some thinking about his remaining four years of eligibility... if three of them could be spent behind Virgil. However, if Kline overtakes the job or Virgil leaves much to be desired as the starter than Davis will be ready to compete for opening in 2017.
Christian Rossi has not been too far behind the pack, but it seems to be a noticeable distance. With Davis suffering a lingering shoulder issue, that does mean more snaps for Rossi as fall camp continues.
In the open scrimmage Rossi was a man among boys, almost literally, as the junior college transfer led the third team offense against the third team defense, both comprised almost entirely of 18-year-old freshmen and walk-ons. In that showing Rossi had 78 yards and a touchdown on nine completions and 13 attempts.
Third-team QB. Rossi slots with the third team and handles scout team duties when needed. The third-team fall camp quarterback has made a start in both 2014 and 2015 at Fresno State, but if it gets to that point you could see Davis thrown out there first.