Posted: 12:06 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013
By Jeremy Mauss
Most of the time the backup quarterback position can be the fan favorite on any given team, and that typically can steam from a team not having a starter that is amazing or that the backup is that highly touted true freshman recruit.
As for Utah State, they are not hindered by either of those scenarios, however they do need to find a backup just in case Chuckie Keeton goes down with an injury. Keeton is a mobile quarterback which can lead to being injured if he gets hit when out in the open field. So far in camp the Aggies have been unable to locate a capable backup.
Head coach Matt Wells says there is no favorite at the quarterback race right now, and the three that are battling it our are Craig Harrison, Jeff Manning and Darell Garretson. Harrison is a junior college transfer from Snow College, Manning is a redshirt freshman and Garretson is a true freshman.
So far in camp Harrison has been getting more of the second-team reps than the other two, and has seen some time with the first-team offense. He has experience starting beyond the high school level with his two years at Snow College, and the other two have yet to play a single down of college football.
It looks like it is Harrison's job to lose, but Well is reluctant to name a backup just yet:
"Still a lot of work to be done. I'm not ready," he said. "They've all had good periods and good team sessions and some good practices, and they've had some they wish they could have back. I'm not ready to anoint anybody yet."
"The biggest thing I feel like I bring to the table is the ability to run the offense at the tempo they want," Harrison said. "The biggest thing I need to clean up is execution and getting the ball out on time. Not hesitating, just seeing what I see."
Waiting to name the right player as the backup makes a lot sense since the Aggies are set with Keeton as the starter. Expect a backup to be named the week of their opener against in-state rival Utah, and that should be Harrison. Then look for Garretson to redshirt and learn the system with Manning being the the third-string quarterback.
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