Jeff Quinn wanted to put his team into game-like situations, to challenge them in this second week of camp. The good news from Thursday's practice -- the defense came up big.
The bad news -- that means the offense didn't fare well.
With the start of the football season just 15 days away, the University at Buffalo is still without a clear-cut favorite as the starting quarterback and, from Quinn's generic answers to QB-based questions after practice, no one seemed to really take full advantage of their most recent opportunity.
"The update is on our whole offense and that quarterback position is obviously very vital, but today I did not see the things I needed to see at this point in our camp from a total offensive standpoint," Quinn said. "There's a lot of positions that really need to step up their game. Certainly there is nothing more important than that guy who is leading our offense. We're going to continue looking to see where their development is through this weekend."
There are four quarterbacks on the depth chart for the Bulls. Fifth-year senior transfer from Cincinnati Chazz Anderson and sophomore Alex Zordich would appear to be the front-runners ahead of junior Jerry Davis and true freshman Joe Licata. What is Quinn looking for in his starting quarterback? The same thing he is hoping to see from his entire offense.
"Execution," Quinn said. "I want to be able to see them take what they've learned in meetings and put it on to the field. Obviously it's very important for us to take care of the football from an offensive standpoint. Mostly we've done that so far in camp. I know guys are more conscientious with the ball, but certainly up front we had some breakdowns at times [in Thursday's practice] that really created some issues.
"It just didn't flow the way I would have liked it to flow [Thursday]. We did not leave here offensively feeling like we've made the kind of strides necessary to feel like we can go and play the season. I know there's still some time left and we're going to utilize that time."
Quinn's answers about the offense and quarterback position indicate that while the team needs to establish its starter soon, the emphasis is to make sure he has the right players in the right spots, even if that means taking some time. Still, Quinn is ready to move along the process.
"I told our staff and I told our team, we're honing down," Quinn said. "Somebody is going to be our starter. Somebody's going to be that backup. Somebody's going to be that demo-squad scout team guy who might need a little more time to develop but I want to hone down where we're at with each and every position. I know how important it is to find that QB that really has the most consistency, intelligent-judgment making out here and certainly [someone] who brings the entire offense together."
While he wanted to see better execution and more intensity from his offense, Quinn had plenty of praise for his defense after Thursday's drills.
"[Thursday's] focus was about putting our kids in situational, game-like opportunities and what I was looking for is to see how our kids responded in those very difficult moments in a game, where there's very little clock left," Quinn said. "I really liked the way our defense responded. They were able in a number of situations to preserve wins for us and that's really refreshing for me. The defense stepped up."