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July 26, 2011

Quarterback Thoughts

In 2003, Jordan Palmer and Orlando Cruz split the passing duties almost perfectly down the middle. Cruz threw the ball 203 times, and Palmer passed 196 times.

Cruz completed 50.7% of his, and Palmer completed 49.5% of his. The following year, under Coach Price, the Miners threw the ball 393 times. Palmer threw it 366 times, Omar Duarte put it in the air 20 times, and Cruz had only tossed the ball 3 times. For the time that Coach Price has been here, one thing has become very clear-his starting quarterback, once he earns the job, can pretty much count on being the man.

From 2004 through 2006, under Price, Jordan Palmer through 94.7% of the 1298 passes thrown. From 2007 through 2010, Trevor Vittatoe threw 94% of the 1742 passes, even though he was playing with serious injuries the last two seasons.

So, as the players come back from summer vacation, and prepare for the 2011 season, the next few weeks should prove to be very interesting as we watch the final few rounds in the battle for the signal caller's spot on this year's team.

At the end of Spring Ball, Nick Lamaison had gotten the nod to start the Spring Game with the lion's share of the starters on his team. His backup for the game was Red-shirt Freshman, Javia Hall, who had come on strong in Spring Ball, in a bid to leap past all of the other contenders for the starting quarterback job. In the Spring Game, Hall may very well had the best showing. Nick Lamaison was a highly touted, and accomplished, quarterback in the junior college ranks, and was brought in to fill the void left by the graduation of Trevor Vittatoe.

Senior Tate Smith, and sophomore walk on Carson Meger, had been unable to do enough to claim the spot while serving as Vittatoe's backups. But, Coach Price, when he announced the signing of Javia Hall, said that Hall would become the face of UTEP football in the years to come, and it looks like Hall has decided that the future is now.

It seems that Lamaison may have a tenuous hold on the starting spot, but, in the weeks to come, he may have a serious battle on his hands to keep it from being ripped from his grasp by the very talented Hall.

Back in 2007, when Palmer left, backup Kyle Wright was trying to claim the quarterback position. He was joined in the hunt by one of the highest rated high school quarterbacks to ever come to UTEP, transfer Lorne Sam, and a youngster, another highly ranked high school quarterback, James Thomas II. But, the quarterback that won the job was a kid that had slipped under everyone's radar, the freshman, Trevor Vittatoe.

The long wait is over. Football is back. With lots of questions surrounding this season's team, the next month's quarterback duel starts things off with a bang. The trip up to Camp Socorro promises to be one of the more interesting ones in quite some time.


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