Washburn coach Craig Schurig’s plan heading into fall training camp was to use two quarterbacks early in the season, and Schurig sees no reason to deviate from the plan after watching the battle unfold.
Logan Twehous will start at quarterback against Northeastern State at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Tahlequah, Okla., but Washburn will also give Blake Peterson snaps.
Schurig said both QBs have embraced the competition.
“It’s been a very healthy competition,” he said. “They really share the same skill set, so you don’t have to do anything different with the offense. You don’t have to call different plays with one or the other. The game experience will be the key.”
It will be the first career start for Twehous, a 6-foot, 205 pound sophomore who appeared in five games last season as a redshirt freshman.
“Every season has a different feel, especially this one, knowing I’m going from a backup to knowing I’m going to get quite a bit of playing time,” said Twehous, a native of Columbia, Mo. “They say you’re always supposed to train and prepare like you’re the No. 1, but it’s different when you know for a fact you’re going to play. There’s definitely a different feel to it and I’m excited to get this season started.”
Peterson, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound Washburn Rural product, transferred into Washburn before the start of last season after redshirting a year at Texas State. He played receiver last season and was moved to quarterback in the spring.
Twehous said the quarterbacks have leaned on each other throughout the competition.
“Both of us being new to battling for a starting role, we’ve definitely talked a lot, communicated day-in and day-out about what we see and what we think and how we feel about the game plan going into it,” Twehous said. “We’ve definitely leaned on each other. We already had a close relationship and I think it’s grown even closer since the competition began.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that no matter who is on the field at any given time, both of us are capable of making some big plays.”
Senior running back Mickeel Stewart agreed.
“They’re both dynamic and can run and throw,” Stewart said. “They’ve got a bigger grip on the offense. Logan has more experience than Blake so far, but Blake’s progressed really well. He had a really good scrimmage in our last scrimmage.
“I don’t want to say they’re interchangable, because they’re not the same guy, but the way they play, you can run anything with them.”
Schurig anticipates giving Twehous the first three or four series of the game before putting Peterson in.
“I don’t really have a rule (for dividing the time), but we want to give them series; we’re not going to change them out one series at a time,” he said. “We want to let them get a feel for the game.
“I think it will be important for us, for the whole season, really, to get those guys game experience early in the year.”
SCOUTING THE RIVERHAWKS – Northeastern State enters a pivotal year after going 5-28 the last three seasons under former WU offensive coordinator Rob Robinson.
NSU went 2-9 last year but returns starting quarterback Dom McKinzy, a KC-Wyandotte graduate who set the program’s single-season passing record last year with 2,767 yards and 26 touchdowns. McKinzy (6-foot, 220) threw for 283 yards in last season’s 38-19 loss to Washburn.
“He’s a big, strong kid. He’s hard to bring down,” Schurig said. “He’ll shake off some potential sacks and he can buy time, and he’s a got a strong arm. Last year, he played really well against us. On third-and-longs, they really chewed us up a little bit.
“Hopefully we can make good plays on the ball. He’s showed he can be very accurate, even down the field, and we have to respect his arm strength. So I think we’ll have to disciplined.”
The Ichabods left for Oklahoma on Wednesday afternoon, staying the night in Tulsa.
“It’s kind of a change of pace,” WU senior defensive lineman Trey Parker said of the nearly five-hour road trip to start the season. “We’re looking at it as a positive thing. We’re looking to go on the road and spoil somebody’s opening day at home. I don’t think (the trip) is negative. I actually like it.”
Washburn at Northeastern State
Kickoff: 7 p.m. Thursday, Doc Wadley Stadium, Tahlequah, Okla.
Records: Washburn 0-0, Northeastern State 0-0
Radio: KTPK-FM (106.9)
Next: Washburn vs. Northwest Missouri State, 6 p.m. Sept. 5, Yager Stadium