Hungry to make their marks in the program, more sizable roles are assured to be waiting for Blake Peterson and Logan Twehous heading into their sophomore seasons at Washburn.
Who captures the biggest role will now hinge on a three-and-a-half-week battle between the close friends for the starting quarterback job.
“We’re real good buddies,” Peterson said. “I love Logan. He’s a great guy, one of the better guys I’ve been around. He’s a real smart guy and he’s definitely helped me out a lot.
“I think it’s going to be a good thing for both of us. It’s going to make both of us better, whoever ends up winning the job and whatever the situation ends up being.”
The battle officially began on Monday, with the Ichabods opening fall practice and holding media day at Yager Stadium.
“Me and Blake have built a really good relationship,” Twehous said. “During games and practices we’d always be together on the field, and we played baseball together, so that was a big help, building our relationship.
“It’s going to be exciting to see this competition and see who comes out on top.”
Washburn coach Craig Schurig announced last week the starting quarterback job will come down to Twehous and Peterson, with both QBs expected to take snaps early in the year.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch them compete,” WU receiver Jake Horner said. “I think they both have a great attitude about it. They’ve been friends; they’ve been hanging out all summer. We’ll see what happens. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Twehous, a 6-foot, 205-pound native of Columbia, Mo., has a slight edge over Peterson in game experience, appearing in five games and completing 14 of 33 passes for 197 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions last year for the 7-5 Ichabods.
“It helped a heck of a lot (to get playing time),” Twehous said. “There’s only so much you can do in practices. You’re in a red jersey; people can’t hit you. They slap you as you go by and you don’t really know if you’re tackled or not.
“So being able to just feel yourself in the pocket and understanding how you’re going to have to move, and being able to incorporate that to your offensive training, it helps a ton.”
Peterson, a 6-2, 215-pound Washburn Rural product, transferred into the program last fall and played receiver for the Ichabods after redshirting one season at Texas State. Schurig moved Peterson to quarterback before the start of the spring.
“When I came here, I wanted to be a quarterback right away, but the situation last year, it was best for me to play receiver and I was hoping eventually I’d move back, which is what happened,” Peterson said.
“I feel good. I feel like I’m where I need to be. I definitely know (the offense), it’s just a matter of getting out there and executing. I’m a little rusty to start off, but it’s just a matter of executing.”
WU senior defensive lineman Trey Parker said Peterson and Twehous differ in their strengths.
“When you see Blake, you see more of an athletic quarterback that can make throws on the run and elude defenders,” Parker said. “Twehous, he’s not too bad of an athlete himself, but I consider him more of a pocket passer and maybe just a little bit more accurate. They’re both good quarterbacks.”
Peterson and Twehous both double as baseball players at Washburn, limiting their availability last spring for football. Peterson was able to take part in about half the practices while Twehous practiced just once but attended all the meetings.
“For me, it wasn’t really about the physical reps,” Twehous said. “It was more mental and making sure I understand every in and out of the whole offense and being able to apply that when I need to.”
Schurig said Peterson and Twehous each have a good grasp of the WU offense.
“They know what to do. Now they’ve just got to go do it in a game situation,” he said. “Blake learned the offense from a receiver perspective and got some work in during the spring, and Logan’s been running it for two years. Their knowledge of the offense is pretty strong.”
Both quarterbacks said they’re eager to take on more responsibility.
“It’s really been two years since I’ve played for real,” Peterson said. “I got a few snaps last year at receiver, but being at quarterback, it’s been two years. It’s been a long wait. I’m ready to go for sure.”
“In high school, I started sophomore, junior and senior year,” Twehous said. “Having to sit on the bench these last two years has been tough. I’m really excited to get out there on the field.”
Washburn opens the season against Northeastern State on Aug. 31 in Tahlequah, Okla.