A glaring hole atop Jeff Quinn's depth chart has finally been filled.
After a summer of two-a-days and team meetings, Buffalo's head football coach announced that sophomore Jerry Davis will quarterback the Bulls' offense this season.
"Right now, based upon all the time I've had to evaluate Jerry against the other quarterbacks, he really seems to be the most stable guy for us," Quinn said. "I felt like having someone who's been out there under center, against the competition, is a big advantage for him."
The second-year quarterback joined Buffalo from Fresno, CA. in 2008 after throwing for 2,100 yards and 29 touchdowns in his senior year at Edison High School. After he redshirted in his first year with the Bulls, the 6-foot-3-inch, 200-pound quarterback appeared in five games last season. In limited action, Davis went 8-of-15 for 145 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown pass – the longest play for Buffalo all season.
"I'm just blessed to be in this position," Davis said. "This is a dream come true. It's everything I've ever dreamed of. But now I have to put it in the past and get ready for Rhode Island. I have to come out and prepare everyday with my teammates and get ready to get things going."
Davis showed great poise and consistency throughout camp to earn Quinn's trust. In addition to making a strong connection with his wide receivers, Davis grasped an understanding for Quinn's high-paced, no-huddle spread offense.
"I love [the spread offense]," Davis said. "It's definitely an offense built for a quarterback. Being a quarterback, you want to throw the ball around. It's been very fun to throw to all these athletes in the open field so far."
"When you're out there playing against live competition the game changes," Quinn said. "It's a more intense level of football that requires a young man to lock in mentally, physically and emotionally. Jerry having some experience probably allowed him to be a little bit more comfortable under center."
Finding a quarterback wasn't always the top priority for Quinn when he arrived in Buffalo in December.
After a stellar first season under center, former quarterback Zach Maynard abruptly transferred to the University of California in late January, thus opening a door of opportunity for both Davis and redshirt freshman Alex Dennison.
A competition for the starting job ensued with Davis falling behind early in camp. Dennison impressed during the spring game and seemed to have a leg up before Davis eventually won the battle.
Quinn strategically allowed each quarterback to take an equal number of snaps with the first team offense to evaluate their ability to overcome adversity.
"A lot of people probably thought we were going to want to fight about things and that we wouldn't get along," Dennison said. "But the quarterback competition made us work harder with each other to make this team better…we both want to see this team succeed."
Having the advantage of two capable starting quarterbacks on the roster is all too familiar to Quinn. Last year as the offensive coordinator with Cincinnati, Quinn utilized the abilities of both Tony Pike and Zach Collaros to combine for 3,954 yards through the air, including 39 touchdowns.
"I will not hesitate to put Jerry Davis and/or Alex Dennison in a game at all," Quinn said. "You have to have two young men ready to play…both young men have done some very good things in regards to operating and leading this offense and understanding that they are one of 11…I feel real strongly that these two young men are both going to get a chance to play and compete."
With the season home opener at hand, Davis acknowledged that he has put the quarterback competition behind him and is focused on preparing his team for Rhode Island.
"Being a quarterback, you always want to be the main guy," Davis said. "Your whole team is looking up to you and wants to trust you…we knew by both competing we'd make each other better. We both know if we bring our A-game everyday we will make each other better…but it's more about working with the team and trying to get better as a team."