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It’s time for Licata

Sports Editor

Published: Sunday, September 23, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11

point

Spectrum File Photo

Asst. Sports Editor Jon Gagnon (left) argues for the Bulls to leave Alex Zordich at starting quarterback, while Sports Editor Joe Konze Jr. (right) argues for back-up QB Joe Licata.

Kent State versus Buffalo, lights on, cameras surrounding the stadium, countless Twitter feeds hashtagging #SeaOfBlueOnESPNU. A perfect venue for junior quarterback Alex Zordich to shine.

He choked.

And the worst part about it? It was against an average team in Kent State, the same team that once ran the wrong direction while defending a punt. Kent State, which ranks seventh in passing defense out of 13 teams in the Mid-American Conference.           

Zordich finished 4 for 22 for 92 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions against the Golden Flashes. That’s mediocre against a mediocre passing defense by a mediocre quarterback, if you ask me.

The Bulls can’t run the ball every play. Although they were without junior running back Branden Oliver for the second half, they still have talent in junior Brandon Murie and freshman Devin Campbell. Kent State knew the Bulls’ passing game was worthless without Oliver. The Golden Flashes stacked the box on every play, making it difficult for the Bulls to run the ball and forcing Zordich to beat them through the air.

So what kind of quarterback would be most effective against this type of defense?

An accurate passing quarterback.

That is what the Bulls have in redshirt freshman Joe Licata.

At 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds, Licata demonstrates the persona of a pure passing quarterback. He may not be able to run read options as effectively as Zordich, but he has been known to accurately hit receivers.

Licata was a superstar at local Williamsville South High School under head coach Kraig Kurzanski. He broke Western New York records with 492 yards in a game,2,573 yards in a season, 6,671 yards in a career and 87 touchdown passes in his career.

Accurate? No doubt.

Just think of the Bulls actually having a quarterback who could throw a nice deep ball to Alex Neutz or a healthy Fred Lee.

Zordich was 30 for 45 for 385 yards and 5 touchdowns through two games. So what? Four of the five touchdowns came against FCS school Morgan State, which had a much more exciting marching band than football program.

In that same game, Licata, on the first pass of his collegiate career, found Neutz in the end zone for a score. He showed poise in the pocket and acted like he had been under center for years.

Why does all that matter? Because it is evident head coach Jeff Quinn is too concerned about his status on the hot seat; his record is 6-21 as the Bulls’ head coach. He doesn’t have time to invest in the future. He wants immediate success, and Zordich provides experience. But is that necessarily the right decision?

I don’t think so.

After next season, Zordich will be gone and the Bulls will have to find a new quarterback. By starting Licata’s learning process now, at least Quinn would be setting the Bulls up for the future.

Shouldn’t it be about who the better quarterback is? Can’t we see Licata play so we know for sure what we have?

After Wednesday night’s embarrassment and sloppy passing attack by Zordich, I have joined “Team Licata.” I feel as though a talented arm could bring much success to an offense that already has a leading rusher in Oliver – though we don’t yet know how long he’ll be out – and two solid back-ups.

By adding a defined, accurate passing quarterback like Licata, the Bulls will eventually be scary good.

 

Email: joseph.konze@ubspectrum

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