Tonawanda News — AMHERST — The University at Buffalo’s Joe Licata and Alex Zordich are motivated young athletes who both want the same thing.
And naturally, the two competitors yearn for it very badly.
And that is to become the Bulls’ starting quarterback job for the 2012 season, which officially began Monday at UB Stadium.
The junior Zordich and the redshirt freshman Licata emerged as the two frontrunners for the job in the spring. Over the next few weeks the two will battle to be under center when UB opens the season on Sept. 1 at Georgia.
“We have five quarterbacks that are all quality young men, who are good leaders,” UB head coach Jeff Quinn said. “You can look at Joe and Alex as the two guys in the lead. One of the those two guys will be named the starter. I want a guy who is accurate, and who is consistent in his performance. That is what success is.
“That is a good problem to have, but only one can start.”
Quinn said it is doubtful a decision will come in the next few days, but acknowledged the possibility of a starter emerging this weekend when both will see game action.
“We will let it play out this week,” he said. “We will assess it after the two-a-day (practice session) on Saturday. We will sit down, study film, and see where they are at, and see if we want to make that call at that time. ... When that takes place we will be able to make that announcement. Hopefully sooner than later.”
Zordich (6-3, 222 pounds) is the more experienced of the two with four starts in 2010 and four backup appearances last year. Knowing last spring he would be engaged in a starting battle, Zordich worked exceedingly hard in the offseason.
“You have to be up here for the summer, and all of us were,” Zordich said of the quarterbacks’ off season preparations. “We had a great summer, one of the best since I have been here, for sure. The basic stuff, you know you need to take care of. You know you need to get into the film room, the weight room and on the field.”
Then there is Licata, the 6-2, 217-pound recruit from nearby Williamsville South. After finishing one of the most prolific passing careers in Section VI high school football history, he spent an entire season without taking a single snap for the Bulls.
A difficult transition, indeed.
“When you come in as a true freshman, a lot is thrown at you,” he said. “You don’t really know how to react. It is nothing like high school. The game is a lot faster, and there is a lot more to learn. I think the year under my belt has helped me to learn the offense, and get to know the guys, and be more comfortable and confident under center.”
Running back Brandon Oliver, who set a Bulls single season rushing record last year, left practice early with cramps. ... Quinn announced that two linebackers from last season — Jaleel Verser and Wonderful Monds — are academically ineligible this season.