It's no wonder University at Buffalo football coach Jeff Quinn and transfer quarterback Chazz Anderson have developed a strong bond. Quinn arrived here last year and laid out the four F's that comprise the foundation of his life: faith, family, football and fishing. Anderson shares the same No. 1 on his priority list. He plans on entering the seminary after completing his final year of college eligibility with the Bulls.
"For me I always look at, what's the will of God for my life," Anderson said following Monday's opening of training camp at UB Stadium. "I prayed a lot about it. I had a chance to sit down with my family and, God willing, coach Quinn gave me an opportunity. So that was the answer."
Anderson transferred in from Cincinnati with degree in hand, making him immediately eligible. His familiarity with Quinn, the Bearcats' former offensive coordinator, and the spread offense, combined with his experience and maturity, make him the favorite to take over the quarterback role that Jerry Davis and Alex Zordich split last season.
UB coach Marty Spieler, who oversees special teams and tight ends, made Anderson aware the Bulls were open to competition at quarterback after a 2-10 season during which the offense rarely got out of its own way. Anderson, 6-foot-1, 222 pounds, saw the opportunity as a perfect fit after four years as a backup and spot starter at Cincinnati.
"Obviously I wanted to play my last year," Anderson said. "I'm going to seminary here after football season so for me it was, I want to make the most out of my time that's left. We had a good conversation and next thing you know I'm at Buffalo."
"I think for him it's a blessing as well as all of us to have a fifth year to come and play and be considered either a vet or seasoned guy," said senior receiver Terrell Jackson. "Chazz is a guy as well as the rest of the quarterbacks that's a natural leader. Guys flock to him and we gravitate toward that because it's a positive vibe."
Zordich, a sophomore, and Davis, a junior, say they're open to competition determining what's best for the team. Anderson feels similarly.
"For me it's never about competition," Anderson said. "It's preparing each and every day like you're the starting quarterback and hoping for your opportunity. I just want to do my part. I want to be a part of something very, very special and my hat goes off to Zordich and Davis, they do a great, great job. So I'm just looking to compete, like they are, and help the Bulls get better."
Anderson won twice as a spot starter during the 2008 season, the first of two Cincinnati Big East championship runs, and had a decent day in his lone start last season, a loss to Syracuse. His arm strength is average but he has excellent mobility, an important quality in the no-huddle spread. However, it's his experience and leadership attributes that probably give him the inside track at the position.
"This is a young man that comes already with a degree in his hand," Quinn said. "He understands what it takes to compete and win championships. And he's a young man that understands a sense of urgency because he only has 12 regular-season games to play. And that's why he chose to come to Buffalo. He wanted an opportunity to play for me and play for this team. He likes the talent. He knows we have a lot of good players here. Now he wants to come in here and do his part."
"For me the term I use, at Cincinnati and here, we were looking for a sense of professionalism," Anderson said. "And that's what I'm trying to do each and every day is present a sense of professionalism. That way guys can say, 'This is how it's done. He's consistent, he's predictable,' and we can move forward from there.
"Obviously I feel like I'm 40 years old and been doing it a long time. So for me there is a confidence in that. Surround myself with great players, get the great players the football and the rest will take care of itself."
Anderson, Davis and Zordich will share the practice repetitions close to equally the first week of camp. At that point Quinn and his coach staff will move toward naming a starter for the Sept. 3 opener at Pitt.
"When we complete the whole week we certainly will have enough information to decide who at the end of the first week will emerge and who has done the most in terms of most consistent, the best judgment and making the plays for our offense to move forward," Quinn said.