The competition to see who will be UC’s starting quarterback when they open up the season in two weeks against Purdue is still on-going after the Bearcats held a second preseason scrimmage on Saturday.
Senior Brendon Kay was limited by shoulder stiffness and played in just two series during the nearly 130-snap scrimmage at Nippert Stadium. Senior Munchie Legaux and redshirt freshman Benny Coney split the majority of snaps, while transfer Gunner Kiel saw some action. Kay had been held out of practice earlier in the week but had gone full participation on Thursday and Friday.
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“I guess we’ve been throwing too much, so he didn’t get enough reps,” said Tuberville about Kay. “We’ll wait a couple of more days and see how that does.
“Munchie did a pretty good job. He’s got to do a little bit better getting the ball down the field, the deep ball, throw a little bit more accurate across the field but it’s going to be close. It’s going to be closer than what people think. We’ll see what happens with Brendon and see when he can come back. If he can’t come back soon then we’ll make Munchie our starting quarterback because we’ve got to start game-planning here soon.”
Tuberville said the Bearcats will start putting in the game plan for Purdue on Thursday this week. They open against the Boilermakers on Aug. 31 at noon at Nippert Stadium.
While Kay was out there, it wasn’t pretty. The only pass he completed went to running back Rodriguez Moore for a loss of yardage. It wasn’t just Kay, as the defense got the better of the offense overall. Official stats weren’t kept. Legaux had his moments, including throwing a touchdown to wide receiver Chris Moore on a sideline route, but also showed the inconsistency that plagued him last season and ultimately led to Kay replacing him as the starter.
“We took it as a game situation and we played pretty well,” said junior linebacker Jeff Luc.
Luc is starting after sitting out last year when he transferred to UC from Florida State. He, senior Greg Blair and junior Nick Temple make up one of the best linebacking groups the Bearcats have ever had.
“It was tough (sitting out) but it wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be because I actually learned a lot and increased my IQ just from watching the game from a different perspective,” said Luc. “I got to see what was going on from everybody else’s view, from the coaches’ view, and some mistakes you tried to learn from that other players were making.”
The scrimmage is another piece of the puzzle as Tuberville and his staff continue to evaluate their players. Tuberville said Brandon Mitchell, a sophomore from Cincinnati Withrow, has moved up to first team at defensive tackle with senior Jordan Stepp but, just like at quarterback, competitions at every position continue.
“I think we’ve pretty much found out who will hit somebody and who won’t. Now we just have to get our technique down a little better,” said Tuberville. “I thought it was a good scrimmage. We looked much better than we did the first scrimmage, and that’s the reason we practice and the reason we scrimmage. These guys’ legs are tired and worn out. I’ve got my money’s worth this week out of them and we’ll go get it again next week. We’ve got a lot of work to do in every area.”
The Bearcats will have two pep rally and kickoff events on Sunday. The entire team will be at Kings Island at 1 p.m., with an autograph session from 1:30-3:00 p.m. Tuberville and the team’s seniors will be at Dave & Buster’s in Springdale from 5-6 p.m.