Quarterback battle heats up

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

While a football coach loves to see his team gel, SDSU Coach John Stiegelmeier described the spring as a time to battle, not bond. He said spring ball is a time to grade players and establish a depth chart. The summer and fall is when the team gels and comes together as a unit.

A key factor in determining the depth chart is the spring game. Stiegelmeier said the spring game is especially crucial for those positions in which the battle is close.

One of those closely fought position battles is at quarterback. Stiegelmeier said replacing Andy Kardoes is probably the biggest challenge the team faces. He said quarterback is the position in which the backup receives the least seasoning, making it difficult for somebody new to step in and take over.

A four-way battle to inherit Kardoes’ starting job is raging this spring.

“All four (quarterbacks) have their plays and days. No one has separated themselves,” Stiegelmeier said.

Although no quarterback has locked up the number-one position, Stiegelmeier said junior Reed Burckhardt and sophomore Ryan Berry are the top two candidates because they have been playing with the first string due to their experience with the team.

Although Kardoes will be the most difficult senior to replace, the Jacks look to fill voids left by Anthony Watson, Jeff Hegge, Scott Breyfogle, Marty Kranz and others.

Stiegelmeier said close battles are being fought at the linebacker and safety positions, spots vacated by Kranz, Hegge and Breyfogle.

Stiegelmeier admitted every year he thinks the seniors will be harder to replace, not because the seniors aren’t great players, but because he is surprised by how the new players step up and exceed his expectations.