This is the first of several upcoming articles that will take a look positions, players and depth for the 2002 football team. Keep in mind that there will most likely be some position changes made by players and coaches at the beginning and possibly during spring drills. Spring ball starts March 14th (less than a month away!) and the spring game will be held April 13th. Post your comments on the message board!
First up… The Quarterbacks.
The depth chart going in should be Rod Rutherford, redshirt junior, 6-3 215. Next should be Pat Hoderny, Redshirt Sophomore, 6-6 230. The next in line will be Nick Rizzo, a local kid who has impressed Walt Harris with his play in practice. It wouldn't even surprise me if Nick were given one of the scholarships held back for walk-ons this recruiting season. Walt has publicly stated that its Rod's job and it's up to him to take it from here. Rod struggled badly last spring, before showing a lot of improvement in fall camp last year. He did very well in the fall scrimmages and also showed in mop-up duty against Miami that he has the arm to make the tough throws. Rod's a strong arm, but hasn't shown the consistency, accuracy or touch to this point to prove he can run this offense affectively. Rod needs to get off to a good start this spring and then continue to improve over the summer. Any defensive coordinator with half a brain will crowd the line against Pitt this year and put 8 men in the box. Although our offensive line and running backs should be much improved this year, we will still need to be able to throw the ball consistently against those types of defenses, because those types of defenses will be able to stop our running game. Rod will have an experienced offensive line, fullbacks, running backs and tight end to work with, although his receiving core will be very inexperienced. There is no reason to believe that Rod should not be able to do the job as a 4th year junior. Pat Hoderny will be pushing Rod for the starting job. Pat has a rifle for an arm, but has struggled since he has arrived. Pat is now a 3rd year sophomore and he should show a lot of improvement this spring. He has great size and a great arm; he just needs to put it all together. Nick Rizzo is the dark horse in the race. He has done very well in scrimmages and has proven he can play. A strong performance by Nick this spring would make it a lot easier to redshirt Tyler Palko and Luke Getsy this fall. If we have 3 QB's who have proven they can run this offense, no reason to rush those true freshmen into action. Goals for this spring at QB should be to establish a consistant , short to mid-range passing game, to go along with our improved running game. The performance and development of these QB's, Rod in particular, is the number #1 story for the upcoming spring practices.