Upperclassman has early lead

Joker Phillips is looking to name a starting quarterback this month, if he can. Opening day starter from the last two years, Mike Hartline, has made his mark early in practice.

While the numbers haven't always stood out for Mike Hartline, he does have a winning record on the field. But when he went down with a knee injury during the South Carolina game last season, the reigns were handed over to Morgan Newton.

Newton was a highly touted prospect coming out of high school and most believed once he took over, nobody would likely unseat him.

But now it appears that Hartline is working to regain his starting role.

"The thing is, Mike feels a lot more comfortable than the other two," said Joker Phillips. "He's been here a long time; he's gotten a lot more reps. He understands where the ball is supposed to be at and he also understands where the defense is at. He's playing a little faster than the other two right now."

The other two being the aforementioned Newton and redshirt freshman, Ryan Mossakowski, who was also highly touted coming from high school.

Hartline's edge could be permanent or it could be short-lived, depending on how Newton and Mossakowski perform the rest of the way through practice.

Each player needs as many reps as possible to continue to improve.

"The quarterbacks need the reps more than anybody," said Phillips who is looking for consistency in his signal caller.

All three will get opportunities this weekend at the first scrimmage. It will also be the first time this spring that the quarterbacks will be available to speak with the media.

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