"I was at my parent's house, back home, on the couch, with my mom and dad, trying to stay sane watching it. I really didn't know what was going on. I tried to call Brian Callahan after the game to find out what was going on, how Drew [Olson] was, how Cory [Paus] was. It was frustrating because I didn't know anything."
When did you hear something?
"I talked to Drew that night. He called me on my cell. We just talked and then I understood what was going on."
At that point you realized that you might get a chance?
"Right, yeah, and then Coach Toledo called me on Sunday to let me know what was happening, and that I might not redshirt. And to let me know what I would be going through."
Since that conversation and Monday, were you preparing yourself to compete for the starting position?
"Yeah, I pulled out the playbook Sunday night, and went over some things I wasn't sure of. And then I got to practice Monday, and watched film. Just trying to prepare ourselves as much as possible, because you never know what's going to happen on Saturday."
How do you feel about the reps you're getting in practice now?
"All the reps help. I've never seen this many reps in practice before. On one hand it feels good, getting in there and being successful I guess you could say, doing the right things. It feels good."
Have you gotten the sense that you're "the guy" for Saturday?
"A little, but I'm trying not to. They're still going to make their decision by Friday or Saturday, or whenever he does it. I'm just going to keep working hard out here. Drew could come back. It could be anybody. I just have to keep working."
In the last month or so, in the back of your mind, did you ever think something like this could happen?
"Early on, when I heard I was reshirting I was like, ‘Allright, that's cool. I'm just going to take this year to get better, get bigger.' But to tell you the truth I never really thought that something this drastic could happen. How random is that, that you lose two quarterbacks in one game? That has to be like a one in a million. So I never really thought that I'd be in this position. I'm really excited. But I feel bad for Cory and Drew. They're my buddies. Cory worked his butt off. Like I said, I'm excited to be in the spot I'm in and ready to compete."
Are there any reservations about burning your redshirt year?
"I'm here to play football. If I have to play then I'm going to play. That's why I'm here. I'm not here to sit. If they need to play me, I'm going to play."
Have you put on some weight since fall?
"A little bit. I can't tell you how much..."
Eight pounds? That's what Toledo said...
"Around there. It goes up and down every day. I'm about 185. I'm trying to keep it up. I'm working hard. It doesn't seem like a lot."
Watching Paus and Olson get hurt, and the lack of pass protection, does that concern you at all?
"That's football, you know. It's bad luck. Cory got high-lowed. That's bad luck right there. Drew, I really didn't see what happened to him, but you're going to get hit. Sometimes you can stick it out, sometimes you can't. Both of those guys are tough guys. But an injury is an injury."
Has running the scout team and going against the #1 defense in practice had any kind of impact?
"That's one thing I was glad about, that I wasn't just standing around and watching. Running the scout team I still got to keep my fundamentals sharp, my footwork, my ball, positioning, everything like that. And I got to throw against one of the best defenses around. So it kept me sharp, and it kept me going. I actually enjoyed doing the scout team. It was fun."
"We haven't. But he was one of my best friends in high school. I talked to his dad last week. I'm sure if he were here I'd be with him every day. I watched hiim play against Boston College on TV. We were in the hotel, I think it was the Colorado State game. I was watching him and happy for him. I thought he did well. I'm looking forward to seeing him."
What do you think you have to do in practice this week in order to win the starting quarterback job for Saturday?
"Just keep going out, playing and executing. Checking what I need to check. Audibles. Make the easy play. Just go out there and play football. I think I need to get the offense down more than anything. That's huge. Because one little mishap or wrong call, or anything like that, it could affect the game. John [Sciarra] and I are both capable of throwing the ball and handing off the ball. It's whether who checks, audibles, reads – whoever the best at that is who's going to play."
What is specifically the biggest challenge? Checking off or making the reads?
"I think it's just learning. To check off, it's pretty simple once you get to know it. But going out there and seeing the defense, compared to seeing it on film, is different. But you only do it probably six times a game. Those six times are crucial and you need to know what do do. If I can get those things down, I'll be fine."
Has it been one of your most intense weeks?
"Yeah, this is the most I've practiced since I've been here, since summer. And studying the playbook. But I was kind of happy because we have this ready list of plays, and I was going through things that I didn't know, and there were only a couple of things. I was glad. And it's still the beginning of the week. So we have the rest of the week to learn."
When the decision was made for you to redshirt and Drew was getting in games, and possibly getting a head start on you for the next couple of years, do you think it's all even now?
"Kind of. Coach Toledo said that we'd be even, but I think Drew would have an advantage because he's been in there. But I think we both would have gotten the same shot in spring, and I think we still will get the same shot in spring. Because we both want to play and whoever's not playing he'll be backing him up 100%. We're all behind each other." In recent weeks, the receivers, Craig Bragg, Mike Seidman and Tab Perry, have really come into their own. Do you consider that a big plus for you?
"It is. It's nice throwing to guys of that stature. In practice, they've even helped me out a lot. I threw a couple of bad balls and they bailed me out. No matter who's playing quarterback they can do that. Those guys can really help you out a lot. It's nice knowing they're there."
Your junior year in high school you sat behind Kyle Matter and then really played quarterback for the first time as a senior. Coming in without much experience and some pressure, is it similar to how you feel now?
"Kind of. But it's hard for me to get nervous. I don't know that I'm playing yet. But even just in practice I was like, ‘Wow, I'm running with the ones.' And doing all this and that. But yeah, compared to high school it's kind of the same, but there are thousands more people. It will be fun."