Poised Redshirt Freshman Gets Nod

Prior to last spring, conventional wisdom would have had returning backup Cris Love battling JUCO transfer and redshirt junior Waye Terry for the starting quarterback spot, with second-year youngster Austin Flynn the understudy waiting in the wings.

But a lot has happened since last April. After emerging from spring ball as the first-teamer, Cris Love fell out of favor with head coach Dan McCarney after an OWI arrest and was suspended for the season opener. A broken thumb in his throwing hand forced Waye Terry to the sidelines for the final 10 days of spring practice.

Meanwhile, all Austin Flynn did was emerge from dark horse to serious contender by the conclusion of spring. Then, in a two-man race with Terry, he steadily became the favorite in training camp. Now he can add the title of starter to his name, as McCarney named Flynn the starter Thursday afternoon in an informal press conference in Ames.

The unlikely journey has been a surprising one even for Flynn, who just over 12 months ago arrived in Ames after signing on in the Class of 2002.

"Cris was the starter heading into the fall and I was going to try to be the best backup I could and maybe take it over during two-a-days," said Flynn, a native of Deer Park, Texas. "I didn't expect this at all. Now it gets a little bit more exciting. I'm not real nervous right now, but I'm sure when game time comes around. That happens to everybody in their first game. I've got to overcome that and play to the best of my ability."

Some might call it carelessness or recklessness, but Flynn's somewhat care-free approach throughout the process is something he'll maintain.

"It's a game. It's fun. It's let it loose, have fun with it and just see what happens," he said.

Competing against the older, more experienced Terry – an all-conference quarterback at California's Foothill College in 2001 after throwing for 2,249 yards and 28 scores – many thought Flynn's career would be on hold for another two years.

But Flynn followed up a breakout spring with more consistency and playmaking in camp.

"He's really improved and has a greater understanding of the offense right now than any time in the spring," said McCarney, who may have found a four-year starter after going with Seneca Wallace and Sage Rosenfels each for two seasons from 1999 to 2002. "He's made better decisions and more plays, and less guessing on his part than what we probably saw in the spring. He's got a real presence about him and is a real leader. His maturity level is way beyond what a normal redshirt freshman would have at any position, much less quarterback.

"We made a thorough evaluation of our quarterback position and have decided to name Austin Flynn our starter for the Northern Iowa game. He's had a real good camp and has been more consistent than any time in the spring. It sure isn't because Waye Terry has had a camp, because he's really improved since the spring."

McCarney came to his decision after a Wednesday afternoon scrimmage in which Flynn took all of the first-team reps and Terry played a backup role. It will remain the same throughout the remainder of this week leading into the season opener against Northern Iowa Aug. 30.

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