Quarterback battle at UT put on display

University of Toledo football player Logan Woodside (11) throws as  Michael Julian (5) watches during practice at the Glass Bowl.
University of Toledo football player Logan Woodside (11) throws as Michael Julian (5) watches during practice at the Glass Bowl.

The University of Toledo will showcase its quarterback competition to the public for the first time today.

Logan Woodside will quarterback the white team, and Phillip Ely the blue team in the spring game at the Glass Bowl. Michael Julian, the third participant of a race expected to extend into the fall, will split snaps with both teams.

The game, set to begin at 1 p.m., will use normal rules except all kicks will be dead balls. Also, there will be a running clock in the second half.

Coach Matt Campbell said each of his quarterbacks will get a chance to run the first, second, and third team offenses, just as they’ve done all spring.

“What I am proud of is all three have functioned really well,” Campbell said. “All three have moved the offense at times, all three have made mistakes at times, but they’re all getting better.”

Campbell opened the spring with a depth chart showing the quarterbacks as co-starters. The hierarchy, based on Campbell’s public comments, has not changed. Woodside, a sophomore, played sparingly last year in reserve of Terrance Owens. Ely, an Alabama import with two years left to play, has attempted four collegiate passes. Julian, a redshirt freshman, has attempted none.

Campbell and offensive coordinator Jason Candle continue to evaluate the position on three qualities — leadership, accuracy, and decision-making. Candle, who is doubling as quarterbacks coach for the first time, likes what he sees.

“They’ve all shown growth,” he said. “There’s been a conscious effort to take care of the football, which in the past has killed us. I think the decision-making is at a really high level. Rarely do you see three guys who are competing for the same job all maintain a positive attitude, a really solid approach to preparation, and a genuine willingness to be good teammates. There’s not a selfish guy in the group. That makes it easier on me, and it makes it easier for our football team too.”

Joining Woodside on the white team is a strong core of defenders: linebackers Trent Voss and Jaylen Coleman, linemen Treyvon Hester, Marquise Moore, and Keenen Gibbs, and safety Chaz Whittaker. Hester, a third-team Mid-American Conference pick as a freshman last year, was the white team’s first selection. Tight ends coach Bryan Gasser will coach the team.

Seniors were divided between the teams. Then they held a draft of underclassmen.

Ely’s blue team is more proficient offensively. He’ll throw the ball to veteran receivers Alonzo Russell and Justin Olack, and hand it off to sophomore running backs Kareem Hunt and Damion Jones-Moore. Offensive lineman Paul Perschon, who began the spring second on the depth chart at left tackle, was the team’s top pick. Coaching the squad is cornerbacks coach D.K. McDonald.

All-MAC offensive lineman Greg Mancz and Jeff Myers have been held out while recovering from surgeries.

Candle said the spring is only a piece of the evaluation puzzle at quarterback. This summer, when coaches aren’t allowed to coach, will be key heading into fall camp.

“It will be nice for me to step away and not be there,” Candle said. “I’m excited to get back in August and see their growth. When you’re the quarterback you have to be able to rally the other 10 guys on the field. Not everyone has to like you, but everyone has to respect you. I feel like in the summer, when coaches aren’t around and coaches can’t be with the players, the quarterbacks can develop some of that leadership we’re searching for.”

Contact Ryan Autullo at: rautullo@theblade.com, 419-724-6160 or on Twitter @AutulloBlade.