Competition improves quarterback position

Many football fans call two quarterbacks fighting for a starting position a controversy. Talmadge Hill and Andy Roesch, call it a competition.

"We're trying to help the team, just trying to compete," Roesch said. "I wouldn't call it a controversy. I'd call it more of a quarterback competition, than a controversy. There's no controversy at all."

It all began a year ago when Hill failed to put up expected numbers in his sophomore season. After throwing 1,455 yards, 13 touchdowns and rushing 256 yards in seven games his freshman year, numbers tapered off. Last season Hill started all 11 games and threw for 1,953 yards and 13 touchdowns, but also threw 15 interceptions and only rushed for 79 yards.

The 6-foot, 197-pound Hill, began working in the off-season with quarterbacks coach Brent Baldwin on throwing mechanics, foot work and lifting weights. They used film and preparation to help him recognize defenses and spot holes better.

His counterpart continued to improve over the off-season as well.

"This summer I made great strides in the weight room," Roesch said. "My strength and my quickness and agility is something I haven't been very good at, and I think I improved."

Roesch, a 6-foot-4-inch, 228-pound pocket passer, worked on aspects of his game as well.

"Roesch brings poise in the pocket, a guy who knows the offense," Hill said. "He's experienced, he hasn't had too much game experience, but guys seem to like him. I think he brings a lot to the table. He throws the ball well, he's a pretty solid quarterback."

Hill and Roesch began sharing time with the first team offense during practices late in the off-season.

"We've dealt with it the only way that you can, and that is just go out and compete," Hill said. "I really didn't think too much about it. I just worried about playing well."

Monday, head coach Bill Lynch made the decision to go with Hill against Missouri.

"It wasn't like we were looking for a quarterback," Lynch said. "Andy deserved a chance to compete, not that we had to find a new one. Since he (Hill) started as our quarterback, we've gone from a long losing to a winning record."

Roesch and Hill believe the competition was for the best.

"Overall, I think it was good for the team," Hill said. "Competition is always good. It forces every practice to become a game-like situation."

Since starting his freshman year, Hill has taken a Cardinal football team from the longest losing streak in the country to a 10-8 record and co-championship of the Mid-American Conference West division.

"He brings excitement, he's a real flashy guy when he makes plays," Roesch said. "He can make plays with his arms and his feet. He brings the team a spark."

There is no schedule for Roesch to get playing time during games this season, yet.

"I was named the starter, but yet we got another guy that is capable to play," Hill said.