University at Buffalo receiver Terrell Jackson was in the lunch room the other day when he walked by a table occupied by quarterback Chazz Anderson and safety Josh Copeland.
"This is the Ohio table, huh?" Jackson joked.
Anderson told Jackson, a Texan, to join them. The receiver, having already seated himself elsewhere, declined.
"Chazz came over and carried my plate to his table," Jackson said. "That's the type of guy he is."
Anderson is all about team chemistry. So much so that it's virtually impossible to get him to talk about himself and the attributes he brings to the Bulls as a fifth-year senior with Big East experience.
"I think it's all about leadership," said receiver Ed Young. "We have a good leader in Chazz right now. He's a real good quarterback and we're all jelling together with the plays and everything."
"He's got wonderful intangibles," said quarterbacks coach Don Patterson. "He's a great person. He's got excellent leadership capabilities. He's just born with that gift, I think. He knows what to say to teammates at the right time. He's one of the guys. He doesn't act like he's better than anyone because he recognizes that you got to have 10 other guys in the huddle with you who are doing their jobs well.
"So I think the guys like and respect him," Patterson continued. "They realize he's a veteran football player and he's got a lot of knowledge. He had a lot of knowledge before he came here and I think Chazz would tell you he knows even more about the game than he did a month ago just because he's highly motivated to learn."
Anderson failed to seize UB's starting quarterback job as quickly as expected. Part of that might be owed to time needed to acclimate; the no-huddle spread run by the Bulls differs in some aspects from the one he was part of at Cincinnati. And part of the delay in naming him starter had to do with the play of sophomore Alex Zordich and his unwillingness to concede Anderson anything.
What's clear is that Anderson hit his stride at UB practice last week. After a fortnight marked by inconsistency he seemed to find his comfort zone, a transition that culminated with a solid effort in Thursday night's scrimmage at UB Stadium. Typical of his nature, Anderson steered the credit to his teammates.
"Here's the thing," he said. "When you have players like Ed Young, Terrell Jackson, Alex Neutz, Marcus Rivers, Freddie Lee, when you have receivers like that, all you have to do is get them the ball. And so I just try to be a distributor and get those guys the ball. And they do a phenomenal job."
There was more to it than that. The receivers Anderson cited have been around all camp. The timing developed through repetition seems to have shifted Anderson into a comfort zone that enables him to throw with greater conviction and, as a result, improved accuracy.
"I think so," Patterson said. "I think he's very comfortable. Some of the things we're doing are things they did not do at Cincinnati so there's a little learning process there. But he's a fast learner and he certainly has a good command of what we want to do with our offense now. I think Chazz would tell you one of the reasons he's making progress is because Alex Zordich has been putting a lot of heat on him. Alex has improved a lot too. I'm very proud of both those guys. We're anxious to find out how well they play against somebody other than the UB Bulls."
"I'm never comfortable. I always want to continue to get better," Anderson said. "There's some learning, but again, when you have guys around you that play the game like they do then it's so much easier to transition. So for me it was just getting around the guys and working on chemistry. And when we have an 'O' line as good as they are, and running backs, it's just get them the ball. That's all I want to do is get guys the ball."