Chicago Bears rookie Dan LeFevour is the only quarterback in NCAA history to pass for more than 12,000 yards and rush for more than 2,500 yards in his career. His combined total of 150 touchdowns (102 passing, 47 rushing, 1 receiving) is an all-time NCAA record, and the 6th-round draft pick led his teams to a 36-15 record as a starting college QB.
"I feel like I've been watching him since high school," UC junior Zach Collaros told me recently. "He really understood the offense and knew where to get the ball in certain situations. I really admired the way that he played because he was a winner."
Collaros is a winner too. He was 30-0 in two years as the starting quarterback at
But that's not all that Collaros and LeFevour have in common.
LeFevour starred at
After Jones was hired at UC on December 16th, one of the first things he did was to begin forming a bond with his new starting quarterback.
"When he got the job, we talked over Christmas," Collaros said. "He called me to say, 'Merry Christmas' and we started to get to know each other. When I first got back on campus, we met and really hit it off. I love Coach Jones. I talk to him three or four times a week and I really appreciate how he keeps me in the loop with stuff that's going on with the offense. He really respects my opinion as a leader in the locker room. I can talk to him about anything."
Like LeFevour, Collaros figures to put up impressive numbers as a passer and runner in Coach Jones' version of the no-huddle spread offense.
"The offense is not all that different," said senior wide receiver Armon Binns. "We do a lot of the same things with the same concepts. I think we'll be a lot more vertical down the field and take a lot more deep shots. I think we'll make more big plays. Zach's got a lot of targets and will probably put up some crazy numbers this year."
"His offense allows me to spread the ball to a lot of playmakers and it gets me involved in the running game as well," Collaros said. "As long as I can get the ball to guys like Armon Binns, D.J. Woods, Vidal Hazelton, and Isaiah Pead, we're going to put up some pretty good numbers. If they have the ball in their hands, they're going to make me look pretty good."
It will be difficult for Collaros to look better than he did last year while subbing for Pike. Zach completed 75% of his passes and posted a QB rating of 195.5 - which would have easily led the nation if Collaros had enough passing attempts to qualify. He set a Big East single-game record with 555 yards of total offense vs. UConn (480 passing, 75 rushing) and the 'Cats averaged 35 points in his starts.
"He's a confident, tough kid and he's very strong mentally," Binns said. "He's a good leader and knows how to get guys going. I think he'll keep his focus and be ready to go every week."
"I think after the second week of the spring, we really got a grasp of this offense," Collaros said. "Then over the summer, we ran 7-on-7 with just the players and since we had to coach ourselves, we really got a good feel for it. I'm really eager to get into camp and see what our work over the summer translated to. It's been a very good summer for us."
Last season after Tony Pike helped the Bearcats get off to a great start, "Pike For Heisman" t-shirts began popping up in
If the Bearcats can win difficult early-season games against
"I don't know about that," Zach said with a laugh. "I think we would need to win every game. That would take care of it I guess."
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