KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Washburn’s impending quarterback battle will be one of the main storylines heading into training camp, with sophomores Logan Twehous and Blake Peterson competing for the starting job.
The competition might not be a winner-take-all battle, however.
Snaps are expected to be available for both Twehous and Peterson, Washburn coach Craig Schurig said on Tuesday during MIAA football media day at Children’s Mercy Park.
“I really anticipate, at the beginning of the year, playing them both,” Schurig said. “At the college level, you can get away with (playing two quarterbacks); at the pro level it’s very difficult. But I think at the college level, it’s proven to be successful. We’ll kind of see how it goes from there.
“Both of them are quality starters, I believe.”
Twehous, a 6-foot, 205-pound native of Columbia, Mo., is entering his third year in the program after redshirting one season and backing up Derek McGinnis last year. He appeared in five games a season ago, completing 14 of 33 passes for 197 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Peterson, a 6-foot, 215-pound Washburn Rural product, signed with Division I Texas State as a quarterback out of high school, redshirting a year with the Bobcats before transferring to Washburn and playing receiver last year.
Both players also play baseball for the Ichabods.
“Anybody that can play two sports in college is an outstanding athlete,” Schurig said.
Twehous was a prolific passer at Rock Bridge High School, compiling 8,754 career passing yards, which ranked fourth in Missouri state high school history.
“He would prepare each week to get in, in case Derek got banged up, and he did get in a few games,” said Schurig, who is entering his 16th year at WU. “His preparation was always spot-on. He’s an accurate passer. He’s got great quickness and great decision making from what we can tell in practice. He’s ready.”
Peterson also put up big numbers through the air at Rural, throwing for 1,542 yards as a senior. Schurig said Peterson managed to participate in several practices during spring practice.
“He did a lot more than I thought he could do in the spring, being a baseball player,” Schurig said. “In the practices he jumped in, he did a very good job. He’ll be operating a little bit behind Logan from an experience standpoint, but he’s hungry.
“Blake has a very strong arm, just needs experience.”
Washburn, which was picked to finish sixth in the MIAA coaches and media polls, will have two other quarterbacks behind Twehous and Peterson — redshirt sophomore Will Bolster and redshirt freshman Mitch Schurig, Craig’s son.
LETTING THEIR HAIR DOWN: Hairstyles were a hot topic of conversation at media day, thanks to Washburn seniors Austin Tillman and Bob Marco.
Both players showed off their long, flowing locks, continuing what is becoming a popular trend among the Ichabods.
“The thought process behind it was just being a bunch of dogs on the field — being wild, tearing stuff up, getting after it,” said Tillman, a linebacker. “My buddy Derrick McGreevy (junior linebacker) started growing his out, too, so we’re going to be sitting back there with our hair flowing out of our helmets. We’ve got a couple of other guys who have jumped on the bandwagon, as well.”
“It’s starting to get around the length where you can grab on to it. I might have to shave it if it does,” said Marco, an offensive lineman. “We’ll see how bad it hurts.”
AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Washburn’s bid for a Mineral Water Bowl victory didn’t materialize last December, but Schurig believes the Ichabods took advantage of the true benefit to the game.
The extra three weeks of practice paid dividends, he said.
“It was like having an extra spring ball, almost,” Schurig said. “They had enthusiasm for it. Their attitude and passion for the game, and even their weight workouts, were good. I would say our energy to practice and prepare was just outstanding. It just seemed to flow through to our spring.”
The Ichabods lost 36-23 to Bemidji State in the Mineral Water Bowl, ending the season at 7-5.
“Taking that loss was tough, but I think it’s motivated a lot of guys to come back and get better,” Tillman said. “We’ve had guys out here all summer — guys that are hungry and ready to get after it.”
WU’s players report for camp on Saturday.
SCHURIG LAUDS LOONEY: Schurig started his news conference by congratulating former Washburn linebacker Josh Looney on his hiring as Missouri Western’s athletic director.
Looney, who was introduced by Western on Tuesday, played at Washburn from 2002-05.
“Josh was a real big part of our program when we first started,” Schurig said. “He was a great player and brought in a toughness and work ethic, and you knew he was going to be very successful at whatever he decided to do. I’m glad he decided to get into athletics because it’s great to have a guy like that involved in our business and great to have him in our conference.”