*Editorâ€™s Note: This is the first of a three-part series examining the quarterback contenders to start for the Rams in 2010. The final two parts will run Wednesday and Friday.
While many questions remain to be answered during the Ramsâ€™ spring football season, one seems to have taken center stage: who will be the Ramsâ€™ next quarterback?
CSU is three practices into the 15 of the spring season schedule and already well into the process of finding a new starter under center.
Currently atop CSUâ€™s depth chart for quarterback are junior T.J. Borcky and senior Jon Eastman. So far, Borcky has been given the majority of reps while Eastman has had a noticeably quiet role in practice.
Borcky has played multiple parts on the field during his time at CSU, coming to the Rams as a quarterback, then moving to wide receiver midway through his freshman year. Near the end of the 2009 season, head coach Steve Fairchild said the Florida native would be moving back to quarterback during the spring to compete for an open spot.
Borcky said that his time at wide receiver will ultimately make him a better signal caller.
â€œPlaying receiver helped me a lot,â€ Borcky said. â€œBeing a receiver last year and then coming back to quarterback this year, I learned a lot. Learning how to run the routes and the coverages helped me a lot. All around, I learned a lot more and matured during the off season.â€
Fairchild said he could see how Borckyâ€™s time at receiver could be beneficial but said it wouldnâ€™t give him a leg up in the quarterback competition.
â€œI donâ€™t know if itâ€™s an advantage, but heâ€™s played some and heâ€™s a little more knowledgeable about what we are doing offensively than the other guys,â€ the third-year head coach said.
Borcky ranks as one of the more athletic quarterbacks on the Ramsâ€™ roster, combining a 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame with impressive speed and arm strength.
Even though Borcky is in the middle of a four-week audition, he said heâ€™s not thinking of it as a competition.
â€œItâ€™s good to have an opportunity, but I donâ€™t look at that stuff,â€ he said. â€œNo matter if Iâ€™m one or six (on the depth chart), weâ€™re all going to work just as hard, and weâ€™re all going to compete.â€
Eastman enters the spring as the most experienced of the current Rams quarterbacks. After backing starter Grant Stucker for the majority of the 2009 season, the junior college transfer saw more playing time late in the year. Eastman started the for CSU in their final game of the season, passing for 185 yards, one touchdown and an interception against Wyoming.
Fairchild said that even with a start for the Rams under his belt, Eastman still doesnâ€™t have enough experience to gain an advantage in this competition.
â€œItâ€™s a little bit (of an advantage), but Jon (Eastman) hasnâ€™t played much,â€ Fairchild said. â€œWeâ€™re kind of in the same boat like last year with Grant Stucker. Weâ€™re inexperienced at quarterback, there is no question.â€
CSU has started a senior quarterback with limited experience the past two seasons, a trend that would continue this season if Eastman wins the job.
Eastman appeared visibly discouraged about his lack of reps early in spring drills and said his experience wasnâ€™t much of a factor right now. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder added that he wants to play.
â€œI donâ€™t really want to comment on my feelings or anything like that,â€ Eastman said. â€œAll I know is that Iâ€™m not getting any reps, I donâ€™t know why. Iâ€™d like to be playing, obviously. Practices arenâ€™t too fun right now sitting on the sideline. I obviously want to play.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.