This is the fifth in a series of looks at the 2010 UC football roster through the eyes of its position coaches. It continues with a glimpse at the quarterbacks with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian.
Bajakian is a 15-year coaching veteran and was the offensive coordinator with coach Butch Jones at
Starter - Zach Collaros, RS Jr.
Backup - Chazz Anderson, RS Jr.
Third string - Brendon Kay, RS Soph.
Freshmen - Cody Kater, Munchie Legaux
Overview: The reason most fans believe this team can handle the coaching transition and young defense is because of Zach Collaros. He put together one of the most impressive four-game stretches in school history at the QB position and will be counted on to lead a bevy of talented skill players this season. There are capable players behind him, but Collaros is a bona fide star.
Biggest Question: Is it a reality of expect the numbers Collaros put up in those four games playing out over an entire year?
Bajakian: "We haven't talked much about those numbers. The biggest thing for him to accomplish this year is managing our offense. We talk a lot as an offensive staff and full staff about understanding the game is offense, defense and special teams. That field position is a part of that. How important third down efficiency is a part of that. Red zone efficiency is a part of that. Keeping us moving the chains, the ball moving and keeping the defense off the field, those are all ways we are going to have success. I don't think Zach has approached this season saying I have to put up these kinds of numbers whether it be touchdown passes or completion percentage or any of that. It is about how am I going to help this team win."
Worth noting: Bajakian helped turn Dan LeFevour into one of the best mid-major quarterbacks in college football at CMU. The size, athleticism and style of Collaros matches up similarly on paper.
Bajakian: "It's a little bit intangible, but the reality is there are a lot of similarities in terms of their competitive nature. Both guys know they haven't mastered the game. They understand there is room for improvement and they were/are both hungry to constantly improve, constantly understand the game better, constantly understand the position better. Zach is hungry for information, hungry to improve and hungry to prove himself. I don't want to make too many comparisons because they are people unique players and both unique personalities."
Tangibles: 6-4, 209 pounds, RS Jr.
Last year: Started four games, threw for 1,434 yards, 10 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Ran for 344 yards and 4 TDs.
What Bajakian is working on with Collaros: "We will try to shorten Zach's release up a little bit, but the big thing has been to clean up his footwork; go through his progressions. That comes with general understanding of the offense and more in-depth understanding of the offense. It starts with understanding conceptually what we are trying to accomplish and growing to understand what we are trying to accomplish every play."
Where is Collaros' grasp of the new offense: "Getting to the spring, you could see with each step and each practice a better understanding of what we were doing. I think once we get back on the field it will be pretty evident pretty quickly."
PDJ Projection: It almost seems unfair to hold Collaros to the standard he set in four starts last season, but with an offseason of work, confidence of being the guy and talented cast around him, it's not impossible. We won't know until Fresno State exactly how far along his grasp of the new offense progressed, but everyone in that building has all the confidence he will build on what occurred last season. It would be hard to imagine his numbers not being among the best in college football should he stay healthy.
Tangibles: 6-0, 209 pounds, RS Jr.
Last year: Played in four games without a start, ran for 35 yards, passed for 33.
"Chazz is very intelligent. He processes information quickly. When you tell him something he works on it to get better. All of that is a process. He's a very headsy player, intelligent. Athletic also, he can do a lot of things with his feet. He's a guy that this team is very confident in."
PDJ Projection: If called upon,
Tangibles: 6-4, 227 pounds, RS Soph.
Last year: Played in two games without a start, threw for 27 yards, ran for 24. Suffered a knee injury.
Bajakian's take: "He's a guy that is coming off an injury. He's done a great job, he works his butt off. He's done a great job at everything I have ever asked him to do, so I am looking forward to getting him on the field and working with him. He is very intelligent and little bit taller with a strong arm."
PDJ Projection: Injuries have clouded Kay's career at UC and his health will be the predominant factor in if he holds on to his position. With two talented freshmen behind him and top QB recruits for next season all behind him, he is battling not only for this season but for a shot at playing as a senior.
Tangibles: 6-4, 200 pounds, Fresh.
Last year: Ranked No. 26 overall player in state of
Tangibles: 6-4, 185 pounds, Fresh.
Last year: Rated as No. 12 dual-threat QB in the country by Rivals
Bajakian on their impact: "It's hard to say. We haven't been around those freshmen at all. We haven't seen them in practice, we haven't seen them throw a ball or work out. But they both have good arms and can do a lot of good things."
Bajakian on Legaux or Kater being used in spot duty in running situations: "To say early on whether that would happen or not would be premature. Both those guys come out of offenses where their ability as athletes were utilized both throwing the ball and running the ball. Our true goal as quarterbacks is they can be effective doing both. They are true dual threat quarterbacks."
PDJ Projection: We probably won't see either of these two on the field this year. Barring injuries to the players above them it will likely be a redshirt season for both.