The University at Buffalo football program followed its leader’s “Next Bull In” blueprint this week when head coach Jeff Quinn couldn’t make it in for a few days.
Quinn, 49, underwent an emergency appendectomy on Easter Sunday, and for the first time in nearly three decades of coaching, was unable to attend practice earlier this week.
Offensive coordinator Alex Wood directed the workouts while Quinn recovered at his Grand Island home. Quinn snuck out to UB Stadium on Thursday to observe practice, and was pleased with what he saw.
“Our team, our coaches, our kids did a great job staying on task,” Quinn said after Friday’s walk-through session. “I couldn’t be more proud of them to be able to step up without me being around for a couple days.”
Declaring himself “100 percent” on Friday, Quinn was as enthusiastic as ever on the eve of UB’s annual spring game.
“This is the moment of truth,” Quinn said. “There’s a lot of things I want to see from this football team tomorrow.”
The controlled scrimmage pitting the offense vs. the defense kicks off at 2 p.m., but Quinn’s day starts at 11 a.m. with a youth clinic open to boys and girls in grades kindergarten through eighth.
“Hundreds and hundreds of little Western New Yorkers coming out here to go running around on the Bull and getting coached by the coaching staff,” Quinn said. “That’s one of my tactics in recruiting, you know.”
UB players will sign autographs at noon during a complimentary lunch hour, and 150 fans will be allowed to watch warmups from the sideline.
Once the spring game commences, fans will get their first chance to see how the starting quarterback competition between junior Alex Zordich and redshirt freshman Joe Licata is progressing.
Both Zordich, who started four games as a true freshman in 2010, and Licata, the record-setting passer from nearby Williamsville South, will take reps with the first team offense, Quinn said.
“We’re going to get after it and give those kids a chance to see how they respond in a live situation,” Quinn said.