Through all the turmoil that the UConn football team went through last season, there was always one constant: David Pindell.
Not only did Pindell throw for almost 2,000 yards and 19 touchdowns, but he also rushed for 1,142 yards and 10 touchdowns. His yardage was good for No.32 in the country and No.1 out of quarterbacks, as he truly put his extraordinary athleticism on display.
All of his production equated to him accounting for almost 70 percent of UConn’s total offense and 80 percent of their touchdowns, and seeing as Pindell was in his senior season, they have to find a way to do without.
The Huskies currently have five quarterbacks on their roster, not including the newly committed Russell Dixon, and the coaching staff made it clear that all five will be given a chance to win the starting job.
“The best guy is gonna play,” offensive coordinator Frank Guifre said.
However, there really are three that are serious contenders, and quarterbacks coach Mike Moyseenko broke them each down.
No.12 Mike Beaudry: “He’s got a lot of arm talent, he’s a very intelligent kid, he's played a lot of football, so we’re excited about those kinds of things that he brings to the table, the ability to know what’s going on,” Moyseenko said. “He’s played the game, he’s been in big games before, excited about him.
No. 7 Micah Leon: “Really live arm, he's got a really talented arm. Athletic, he’s a polished passer, and he got to train with NC State, they’re a top maybe 10 offense they’re a top-15 team, so he brings a sort of winning background and culture,” Moyseenko said. “You know he was in a program, he was a walk-on there and it was what it was, but what he was excited about us was we’re giving him the opportunity to compete, so with that opportunity he jumped on it, and that’s what we were excited about, that he wants to work for a spot.”
No.4 Steven Krajewski: “Steven’s worked incredibly hard in the weight room and in the classroom,” Moyseenko said. “Steve took a lot a lot of reps for us in the spring when we had two quarterbacks, so he’s grown. There was good and bad in the spring, and the goal for Steven is to learn and grow. He’s worked really hard in the weight room changing his body a little bit.”
The other two quarterbacks are Jack Zergiotis out of Montreal and Miles Foerster out of Amherst, and while Moyseenko did say that the top-3 do have the best chance to win the job, he did not close the door on either of the incoming freshmen.
Let’s take a look at the contenders more in-depth:
Mike Beaudry is a graduate transfer from the University of West Florida, he and the Argos made the Division II National Championship game in 2017, where they ultimately fell to Texas A&M-Commerce 37-27. Beaudry threw for 3,215 yards, 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions over 14 games during the Argos’ run to the title game. Despite it being his third year at West Florida, he was still a redshirt freshman after redshirting in 2015 and sitting out the entirety of 2016 rehabbing from a leg injury. Due to this, he will still have two years of eligibility remaining even though he is a graduate student.
The injury bug bit Beaudry again in 2018, as he suffered an injury to his foot during the first game of the season that knocked him out for the entire year. As unfortunate as the injury was especially coming off as successful a season like 2017, Beaudry recognizes that a lot of good ultimately came from it and admitted that if not for that injury he probably would not have made the decision to transfer.
“I’ve been through a lot, I've been through four years of college football, not as big as this but four good years,” Beaudry said. “I've learned a lot in my time through college, and I think we can help this team grow, grow as a team, grow as a family, [and] take us to the next level.”
Now, he’s looking forward to what he can bring to this program and how he can play a part in changing the culture.
Now let’s move on to the other transfer, Micah Leon. After walking on at NC State, Leon didn’t see any action during the season due to the presence of senior and future Bengals’ fourth-round pick Ryan Finley. While his presence did essentially leave no path to playing time in the Wolfpack offense, Leon was able to learn from him and grow his game.
“Having Ryan Finley be just you know kind of a mentor early on in my career, I think it helped me out a lot,” Leon said. “That guy has all the experience in the world, he’s been in college for a while, and I value that a lot. I think that really helped me out.”
Leon is hoping to take what he learned from Finley, who spent three years at NC State and threw for a total of 10,501 yards and 60 touchdowns over his tenure and put it into action for the Huskies.
He came to Storrs for the opportunity, the chance to compete for playing time, and to help turn a struggling program around. Coming to a school that finished 1-11 the prior season and had a historically bad year is probably a turn off for most, but not for Leon.
“I think a lot of people would look at it as a downside, but I think it’s a lot of opportunities there,” Leon said. “I think with the record we had, we can only go up from there. I'm just excited to see what we will do this year. Just trying to improve that record for the good of our team”
Steven Krajewski rounds out the group, as the redshirt-freshman is the sole quarterback on the roster who was not only on the team last year but also the only one who has taken a snap in a Division I football game.
Even though he went just 2/3 for 11 yards in the season finale vs. Temple, Krajewski looked at it as a good learning exercise.
“It was a good experience just to get out there get my feet wet and see what the game speed was like,” Krajewski said. “I think that’ll definitely help me going into the season.”
He’s now focused on being the best quarterback he can be, not only on the field but in the locker room as well.
“I’m the only returning quarterback so I’ve kind of taken on a leadership role and I’ve been helping out the other quarterbacks. It’s been really competitive, it’s been a big learning process this summer, and we’ve been competing our butts off, and I really look forward to how things are going to go during camp.”
They have the rest of training camp left to prove why they should be the starter come Week 1. The coaching staff stressed that they don’t need a guy to come in and try to be Pindell. They don’t need the flashy, highlight-reel plays on a daily basis.
“We just need somebody to be consistently good,” Moyseenko said. “Consistently making the right decisions, consistently communicating to everybody and being very solid on that front. We need guys that will perform under pressure, and at the end of the day, when they have their turn with whatever units, are they able to move the offense or not.”
Jorge Eckardt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.