Two-Horse Race Developing?

Iowa State entered spring football with three quarterbacks vying for one spot atop the depth chart, but is that number now down to two? CycloneNation.com caught up with first-year quarterbacks coach Todd Fitch for his read on the position after six practices.

CN: What's been your read on the quarterback position so far in practice?

Fitch: We're progressing day to day. Right now what I want to try to do is get a base with the offense, because the terminology is new. Some things are similar. We need to get a base understanding of what we're doing, plus also evaluating and establishing a one-two-three-four-five order. Day to day we're getting better and protecting the ball a little better as it goes on. We're not where we need to be, but there are signs of progress so I'm encouraged by that.

CN: How has redshirt freshman quarterback Bret Meyer performed in the first six practices of the spring?

Fitch: He wants to be a great player, and if you have that intangible where it's really important for you, you've got a fighting chance. He's athletic, has good height and a strong arm. He's not quite as accurate as I need him to be right now, but that's something we're working on. He'll keep improving.

The thing I like about him is that he doesn't make the same mistake over and over as a young guy. He really hasn't played competitively in a year and a half. For being in a high school system that wasn't very complicated and reading cards last season on the scout team, from what we've thrown at him mentally both run and pass-wise, he's done a good job.

CN: Sophomore Austin Flynn has the experience advantage in the race at quarterback, but he's had to put behind him a tough redshirt freshman campaign. Has he been able to bounce back positively this spring?

Fitch: It's a good battle between those two guys right now. He's got an advantage because he's played and understands the speed, intensity, and all of the things that can happen to you in a ballgame. He's really improving. Austin has some limitations in terms of size and stature, but we're trying to tighten him down mechanically and do some things that will help his accuracy, which I know was a problem for him at times last year. He seems to be responding to that well.

He's a bright guy, too, and has a good mental grasp of what we're trying to do. There is always a little bit of a presence to him. Not that he's doing everything right, because he's learning the same system all of the guys are learning, but he has a savvy to him at times, mentally. You can tell he's been in a few wars out there.

CN: Given both of the quarterbacks' abilities, are you able to run a lot of the same plays without having to alter them for one player or the other?

Fitch: They're both good athletes and you can get them out of the pocket with play-action or movement. They both do that well. They both are able to run the ball with the quarterback run system we have. Height-wise, Austin is a little bit more limited throwing from the pocket, but he's done a pretty good job. Down the road, as Bret progresses, he'll probably be a little bit more of a pocket passer because of height and vision down the field. That's something we physically have to alter with Austin.

CN: Two weeks from now, do you envision being able to name a starting quarterback heading into the summer?

Fitch: We certainly want to and that's our goal. I can't promise anything. Mac and I have talked quite a bit about it. I'm not looking to name one over the other. We're going to be honest and open with it. They will separate themselves. We have already had a little separation in the group. We want a guy that's going to make good decision, has good leadership characteristics, and the ability to make plays with his feet, arm, mind, and put our offense in a good position to be successful. Over the next three scrimmages that will surely shake out.


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