Spring ball Day 6: QB picture getting clearer

UNLIKE LAST MARCH, Alex Brink is established as the Cougs' field general. But the No. 2 and 3 spots were less secure with Gary Rogers, Cole Morgan, and Arkelon Hall battling it out this spring. But a little over a week into the session, the depth chart behind Brink is coming into focus, says coach Timm Rosenbach. Meanwhile, more bad news plagues the offensive line protecting those QBs -- yet another o-lineman goes down with a broken hand. And another starter's spring ends before it begins.

Colin Donovan, the 6-7, 284-pound sophomore tackle out of Superior, Mont., broke his hand in Tuesday's practice. A return timetable wasn't immediately available, with the injury likely to be reevaluated by the medical staff and more known in a few days.

The loss of Donovan to an already weakened offensive line is just one of a startling number of injuries plaguing the Cougars this spring. Donovan is one of three different players -- all offensive linemen -- shelved due to a hand fracture. The two others are freshman Kenny Alfred and senior walk-on Tim Freeberg.

IN SOMETHING OF A SURPRISE, quarterbacks coach Timm Rosenbach said Wednesday the battle for the second position looks to already be pretty well wrapped up with 6-5 sophomore Gary Rogers rising to the forefront. Experience and his position last year at No. 3 puts Rogers in prime position to hold his current spot as first off the bench, said Rosenbach.

The third string position is where the real battle is being fought according to Rosenbach, with young guns Arkelon Hall and Cole Morgan competing for the job.

"The three and four is anybody's game and I don't know if you can decide that in the spring or not," Rosenbach said. "Right now you've got Alex and Gary and then who's going to step up and be the next guy is up to them."

The foremost aspect of Rogers's game that sets him apart from the others is arm strength and quality of passing technique. However, there have been several inconsistencies in the accuracy of his throws in the early going this spring, with several passes lofted errantly high over the receivers' heads.

BOTH HALL AND MORGAN have had their bright spots this spring, but neither has proven consistent. Morgan has bobbled several snaps and Hall has thrown a number of errant passes. Both QBs are athletes, however, quick out of the pocket and light on their feet.

"With the young guys like that," said Rosenbach, referring to Morgan and Hall, "Their first thought should be on that third spot, and then they can think about taking that next step."

BRINK LOOKED CONSISTENT all afternoon Wednesday, throwing bullet passes to a vast array of cougar receivers, including one to a diving Benny Ward deep in the end zone.

Rosenbach said since Brink has the number one spot sewn up, he wants to see him try to work on certain aspects of pass patterns that he never got an opportunity to work on last year and see how those fit in with the offensive strategy.

Rosenbach added that spring ball is "really just about him building a rapport with the guys he'll be working with on the offense."

Injured senior SS Eric Frampton will undergo surgery Friday on his right knee and will not be returning for spring practices. He is expected to be ready to go for fall camp.

The outlook for Fevaea'i Ahmu's return looks to be around 8 to 12 weeks while recovering from Tuesday's surgery on his fractured foot.

Notably absent from practice today were senior cornerback Tyron Brackenridge (sprained hamstring), junior wide receiver Lorenzo Bursey (sprained right foot), and junior tight end Jason Price (sprained right hamstring). A trainer was unavailable for comment Wednesday concerning the time frame for their return.

In other injury news, sophomore linebacker Jason Stripling (sprained right shoulder) participated in practice Wednesday while donning a non-contact jersey.

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