The opening of the Tommy Tuberville era is less than three months away when the Bearcats host Purdue on Aug. 31. An influx of recruits and return of familiar stars leave an excitement of what UC can accomplish in The American.
With mass change in coaching staff comes unknown quantities up and down the roster. After holding a long conversation with Tommy Tuberville I churned out a list of the 10 players whose development will be most crucial to crossing the 10-win mark for the sixth time in seven years.
This won't be about pointing out the top players on the roster, though some stars will make the list, this will be about pointing out those who must take a step forward and spike production in order for this team to be successful. We'll run one player a day every day for the next two work weeks, counting down to No. 1.
Today at No. 8:
Year: Redshirt Senior
2012 Stats: 87 of 138 (63 percent), 1,298 yards, 10 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
The Opportunity: He seized his last season being inserted with the game on the line against Syracuse and hasn't relinquished it since. With a clean slate the opportunity now exists to lead a team from Day 1. It's the opportunity he's waited his career for. He'll need to hold on in the quarterback competition when the team arrives at Higher Ground. As is the case across college football, the QB will decide how far UC can go.
Why development is crucial: As well as Kay performed at the end of last season, he'll need to be that much better with the installation of a new offensive system. He will need to be the field general on an offense heavily reliant on the quarterback making calls at the line of scrimmage. That's a grander task than stepping into a system midseason. If Kay can take the reigns and become join Teddy Bridgewater among the top quarterbacks in the conference behind an offensive line set up to give him time to throw, the Bearcats could be chasing another conference title.
Tommy T's Take: "Yeah, I'd say he's a step above everyone else," Tuberville said of the QB competition at the conclusion of spring practice.
Tommy T Take 2: "Our offense is a lot like Stanfords," Tuberville said. "It's a thinking man's game. We'll call the plays for him but he's going to have to go through the reads and make the calls at the line of scrimmage."
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