Stucker or Eastman? Eastman or Stucker?
It’s a question the CSU football team has been trying to answer since fall practice started in August — who is going to be the Rams starting quarterback?
“Who do you want?” head coach Steve Fairchild jokingly asked reporters after practice Thursday evening.
With just more than a week to go before the Rocky Mountain Showdown, neither Grant Stucker nor Jon Eastman have been named the starter. And head coach Steve Fairchild is in no hurry to make a decision, joking that he’ll decide five minutes before kickoff against CU-Boulder.
“I don’t know. I’m thinking about a lot of things, so I don’t know,” Fairchild said. “Somebody will start I guess.”
Fairchild’s offense relies heavily on solid play from its quarterback, and with a strong wide receiving corps five men deep, throwing the ball is going to be important.
“The quarterback position for our team, they’ve got to be on point all the time because there are a lot of things that are asked of the quarterback and if they’re not doing it all the time, then they’re not doing it right,” said quarterbacks coach Daren Wilkinson.
It is a see-saw battle between Stucker and Eastman. One will take the lead in one practice, but take a step backward the next.
“They’ve both shown a lot more consistency. They’ve stepped up their game and are working toward the level that we need to them be at,” Wilkinson said. “The main thing is doing consistently what we ask them to do, making the right plays and putting the ball where it needs to be.”
The two are similar in style but have subtle differences.
“They both are similar. I think Grant maybe has a stronger arm and is more athletic. He probably feels a little more comfortable in our system just because he’s been around it 18 to 19 months,” Wilkinson said. “Jon, I think, is a little more accurate on a consistent basis; he’s got a little bit more touch on his throws. He’s still trying to work his way to understanding our system and being comfortable with it.”
Stucker has tried his best to not hype up the battle between him and Eastman.
“If you don’t think about it, then it’s no big deal. If you let people get to you, and you think about it, then obviously it’s going to be a struggle,” Stucker said. “If it was my spot, if it was Jon’s spot, if it was anybody’s spot, no matter what, you’ve got to put the pads on get better every day.”
Stucker, too, has no idea when Fairchild will make his decision.
“Yeah, it’d probably be easier to know if you’re the guy, but it’s something that I don’t really think about.”
Football beat writer Stephen Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.