LAFAYETTE — Maybe it’s the similarities among the competitors that are making the decision so difficult in finding a backup quarterback at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
So close are the running and passing abilities of Brooks Haack, D’Shaie Landor and Jalen Nixon that virtually no separation has apparently occurred among them halfway through spring football drills.
One thing is certain, however. ULL coach Mark Hudspeth has made determining who plays behind starter Terrance Broadway a key objective before August practices begin.
“For the last two years, we have had the backup quarterback come in and start for us because of an injury. That’s why finding a backup is so important,” Hudspeth said before the start of spring practices.
Hudspeth thought possibly one of the three redshirt freshmen would emerge as the leader following the end of last Saturday’s three hour scrimmage.
Not much, though, has changed.
“It would be hard without first looking at the tape. My initial impression is that Brooks made some things happen, D’Shaie make some things happen outside the pocket and made some big plays and Jalen did some nice things too.
“I think we’ve got some really good freshmen quarterbacks,” Hudspeth said following the scrimmage.
The scripted nature of the scrimmage made it difficult to determine any true statistics.
Landor and Haack each threw a pair of touchdown passes, while Nixon tossed another to tight end Larry Pettis.
Ask Landor and Haack about the situation and both of them think a backup decision could be delayed until the end of August.
“Honestly, we three do all the things pretty well and all three of us get the concept of the offense. That could make things go down to the wire,” said Landor, who started three seasons at Teurlings Catholic-Lafayette.
Landor and Haack both said the backups know they are under intense scrutiny.
“Every day, we’re being evaluated really, really hard and (the scrimmage on Saturday) was just another huge evaluation for all of us,” Haack said,0 who threw for 31 touchdowns during his senior year at Katy (Texas) High School.
Haack said the coaches are making sure the backup candidates have equal chances.
“We’re all going to get opportunities and we’d better take advantage of it.
“I think it’s good the way we are given chances and that we are all battling for it and pushing one another,” Haack said.
The competition is something all three are come to accept.
“It’s competition and it’s going to be there every day. That’s the way I decided to approach it,” Landor said.
Like Haack and Landor, Nixon, who ran for 1,006 yards and threw for 1,120 at Carencro High, is a multi-talented quarterback.
Hudspeth said Nixon’s overall athletic ability has allowed him to be observed at other positions such as running back on goal line situations and as a special teams performer.
The scrimmage also represented the first sustained live contact for each of the three quarterbacks since their final high school seasons.
“I wasn’t surprised that they did that. I was put in the position to get contact, especially with my playing style. It gave each of us a chance to get individual work, while getting back into some game situations,” said Landor, who finished his high school career with nearly 7,000 total yards.
Haack said there are also some subtle differences in their styles.
“I would say I’m more the pocket guy that’s dropping back and throwing. D’Shaie and Jalen both can throw it and they can run it real well.
“Which one of us is ahead of the other is something not for me to say. I really don’t know. I think we’ve done really, really well this spring and I’m looking forward to finishing it up,” Haack said.