Thirteen days until the opening game, no starting signal caller in sight and even less answers. It’s a confusing time to be a Colorado State quarterback.
With less than two weeks before the opening game of the season against arch rival CU-Boulder, head football coach Steve Fairchild has yet to pick a starting quarterback and has even begun widening the field of competition.
Displeased with the performance of odds on favorite Grant Stucker, and facing a hand injury to junior college transfer Jon Eastman, Fairchild is giving wide receiver TJ Borcky his chance to shock Ram nation. The sophomore was called upon to step in and take reps as a quarterback in the Rams’ past two practices.
Fairchild, who is entering his second year as the CSU head coach, said Borcky has a legitimate possibility of earning playing time as a quarterback.
“Right now, until we name a starter, he is an option,” Fairchild said about Borcky. “I’m going to look at the tape to really expand that. I’m not ready to make a decision right now.”
Fairchild first gave Borcky, a Florida native, a look at quarterback last Friday after Stucker struggled in warm-up drills. Fairchild repeated Borcky’s tryout Saturday during an inner squad scrimmage after Stucker again produced poor numbers.
Borcky displayed some success in the scrimmage, going 4-8 for 69 yards. Stucker, by comparison, went 3-11 for only 30 yards and an interception.
Stucker, a senior, said something just didn’t feel right during the scrimmage.
“I didn’t play very well,” the Parker native said. “There was just something that was just off. Personally I didn’t think it was as good as it could be.”
Stucker added that he could see Fairchild playing Borcky at quarterback as a form of motivation.
“I think coach tries to use any resource he can to send a message to people,” he said. “If I don’t do what I need to do, this is what is going to happen. That is clear as day. I need to make sure that he (Fairchild) knows that stuff isn’t going to happen.”
Borcky admitted that he had plenty to relearn if he was going to continue as a quarterback, but said he was willing if that’s what Fairchild wants.
“I’m rusty,” he said. “Some of it keeps coming back to me here and there, but I’m definitely still rusty. Whatever coach decides, I’ll play wherever he wants me.”
Jon Eastman is scheduled to return to full practice Tuesday and is still in contention for a starting spot according to Fairchild. Even though the former NFL offensive coordinator isn’t sure who his go-to quarterback will be in the end, he is confident that things will be resolved.
“We only know that we can come out and practice perfect and hard and smart, and that’s what we’ll demand,” he said. “Eventually things will hit their stride.”
The mix of poor performances and the emergence of Borcky are causing Stucker to recommit himself to his chase of the coveted starting spot.
“Come two weeks I’m going to get down to business,” the senior said. “Starting Tuesday I’m going to be ready to play.”
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org