The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Sports

April 14, 2012

Licata, Zordich show poise

AMHERST — At this stage, the University at Buffalo football team has four quarterbacks it is evaluating as the spring season   concluded on Saturday.

But head coach Jeff Quinn said after Saturday’s scrimmage — that at this stage, at least — it will probably come down to two:   Junior Alex Zordich and redshirt freshman Joe Licata.

Both Licata and Zordich showed signs of sharpness at the annual Blue-White scrimmage at UB Stadium while they rotated in running   the Bulls’ first team offense. The other quarterbacks, Jerry Davis and redshirt freshmen Tony Daniel, took turns piloting   Buffalo’s second team offensive unit.

As of now, Quinn will have to choose between Zordich and Licata, but was diplomatic after the scrimmage.

“I felt all four quarterbacks did an outstanding job,” he said. “And that is a good thing. For me, it will be tougher summer   conditioning and fall camp, because what you saw out there are four guys that are hungry to be the guy.”

Zordich, who started four games as a freshman and served as a backup last year to Chazz Anderson, completed 9-of-17 throws   for 183 yards and three touchdowns.

“I mean, competition is going to be a part of it all the time,” Zordich said. “Especially at the quarterback position. You   have to accept it, you have to love it, and you have to get better from it. I think that is what all four of us are doing,   and it is only going to make our team better. ... All four of us want to be on the field on Sept. 1. All four of us want to   take the first snap.”

Licata, a Williamsville South graduated, completed 7 of 13 for 99 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

“We all bring something to the table, and it is going to be an interesting discussion about who is going to play,” said Licata,   who directed a scoring drive that culminated with a 8-yard touchdown strike to Grand Island’s Alex Neutz. “I think competition   is always good. It is sports and football, and you always want to compete. You never want to be comfortable.“

On the scoring drive, Licata showed poise by spiking the ball to stop the clock with only two seconds left. On the next play,   he hit Neutz for the touchdown.

Neutz, who suffered a fractured left wrist late last season and had surgery on Nov. 11, caught six passes for 112 yards and   two touchdowns. The junior wideout thinks UB’s quarterback situation will be in good shape, regardless of who the starter   is.

“Honestly, it is definitely up in the air,” he said. “As you saw today, all four quarterbacks can play. Zordich played very   well today, and Joe Licata was awesome. And Jerry and Tony, who before today, might have been called second rounders, are   right there in the mix with the first rounders.”

Daniel was 9-of-25 for 177 yards while Davis completed three of six throws for 44 yards.

Branden Oliver, who set a UB rushing record with 1,395 yards last season, ran 16 times for 77 yards on Saturday. Daniel rushed   nine times for 62 yards.

•••

Quinn returned to practice earlier this week after having to undergo an emergency appendectomy procedure in the wee hours   of Easter Sunday. Quinn, who lives on Grand Island, first started suffering pains last Saturday evening before it became to   great to bear. Quinn’s wife drove the coach from their home to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Amherst.

“You know, baby,” he joked. “I’m always 100 percent.”

•••

On Saturday morning, the Bulls held their first annual Football Champions Breakfast, and two announcements were made, that   at least monetarily, were good news.

First, former UB player John Dempsey’s estate donated $300,000 to go towards the 1958 Lambert Cup team’s Football Endowed   Scholarship. Dempsey graduated from UB in 1960 and taught school in Niagara Falls.

Then it was announced the Murchie family donated one million dollars to be used towards improvements at UB Stadium and Alumni   Arena. The UB athletic department will recommend that the football center at the stadium be named “The Murchie Family Football   Center.”

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