Spring primer: Looking for a few good quarterbacks

Graham Watson
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As 21 more teams began spring football this week, many realized that there were a lot of major holes to fill before next fall.

Among these 11 teams, eight were either looking for a new quarterback or had opened competition with its current quarterback and several backups.

Here’s a quick look at 11 of the 21 teams that started spring football this week:


Boise State
Start date: March 10
End date: April 12

What to watch: Boise State will have to get used to life without coach Chris Petersen, who left the Broncos to become the head coach at Washington. First thing on coach Bryan Harsin and offensive coordinator Mike Sanford’s agenda is installing a new no-huddle, shotgun-based offense that combines some of Harsin’s techniques from his previous time at Boise State along with new things he picked up at Texas and Arkansas State.


Connecticut
Start date: March 10
End date: April 12

What to watch: New head coach Bob Diaco takes over a program that hasn’t had a winning season since the Huskies went to a BCS bowl in 2010. The biggest challenge for the Huskies this spring will be finding some quarterbacking consistency. Even though Chandler Whitmer and Tim Boyle combined to go 0-8 while Casey Cochran went 3-1, Diaco said the competition, which also will include Kivon Taylor, is wide open. UConn ranked 112th nationally in total offense with just 318.6 yards per game and 106th in scoring offense with just 20.6 points per game.


Fresno State
Start date: March 10
End date: April 5

What to watch: For the past three seasons, Derek Carr has been the starting quarterback and leader at Fresno State. Now, the Bulldogs will have to replace both entities. Junior Brian Burrell, redshirt sophomore Myles Carr and redshirt freshman Zack Greenlee are the top contenders at quarterback, though Burrell has a slight edge since he was he main backup last season. This team will try to improve on its 11-win campaign a year ago, especially finishing since it lost two of its final three games.


Georgia State
Start date: March 10
End date: April 12

What to watch: Coach Trent Miles, who enters his second spring as Georgia State’s coach, is looking for some players to solidify themselves as starters, but knows that might not be easy with thin numbers this spring. The Panthers lost 27 seniors and are also missing a slew of players because of injuries. The Panthers’ focus will be in the secondary, at wide receiver and on the offensive line.


Iowa State
Start date: March 10
End date: April 14

What to watch: Iowa State is coming off a 3-9 campaign, the worst season in coach Paul Rhoads’ tenure. And if it’s going to improve on that mark, it’s going to start at quarterback. Grant Rohach is the favorite after finishing the 2013 season with wins against Kansas and rallying the Cyclones from a 24-point deficit against West Virginia. Sam Richardson began the 2013 season as the starter, but injuries and offensive line struggles derailed his year pretty quickly. All eyes will be on these two as the spring progresses.

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Ohio
Start date: March 10
End date: April 12

What to watch: It felt like quarterback Tyler Tettleton led Ohio for a really long time and now that he’s gone, the Bobcats will look to Derrius Vick to fill his shoes. Vick was Tettleton’s backup for the past couple seasons and every time he was called upon to play, he did a pretty good job. Look for Ohio to be a little more diverse on offense with Vick as the starter. He’s an option quarterback that can beat defenses with his legs and his arm. The spring will be spent getting used to what Vick brings to the table.


Oklahoma State
Start date: March 10
End date: April 5

What to watch: Oklahoma State is hoping to get out of spring drills in one piece. According to coach Mike Gundy, 37 players that would have been on the 70-man travel roster last season are either no longer with the team or unavailable to practice. With so few available bodies for spring practice, the Cowboys decided not to have a spring game and will use the spring to evaluate younger players and try to fill gaps, especially at safety.


South Alabama
Start date: March 10
End date: April 6

What to watch: In their first full season as a member of the FBS, South Alabama finished 6-6, including winning its final three games. Now, it’s time to build on that momentum. The offense should be in good hands with quarterback Brandon Bridge, but the defense needs to fill some holes, especially on the defensive line. Jesse Kelley and Jerome McClain, who combined for 68 tackles and five sacks last season return, but they’ll need some help.


Eastern Michigan
Start date: March 11
End date: April 12

What to watch: It’s a new era for Eastern Michigan football, which let go of coach Ron English during the 2013 season. Coach Chris Creighton is charged with leading EMU to its first winning season since 1995. To do that, he’ll have to get the 17 returning starters to believe they can consistently win games. There are numerous areas in which EMU needs to get better, but getting the team to buy into the new coach’s philosophy will be the first step this spring.


Louisiana-Lafayette
Start date: March 11
End date: April 12

What to watch: There are quite a few starters who need to be replaced this spring, but probably none more important than center Andre Huval and inside linebacker Justin Anderson, who led the team in tackles each of the last two seasons. Former starting left guard Terry Johnson will probably move to center creating some more shuffling on the offensive line while replacing Anderson won’t be nearly as easy. Trey Johnson was a late-season starter, but LSU transfer Trey Granier, Kevin Fouquier and Tyren Alexander also will challenge for the position.


Missouri
Start date: March 11
End date: April 19

What to watch: Is Maty Mauk finally ready to lead the Tigers full time? We got a glimpse of Missouri with Mauk at the helm while now-graduated quarterback James Franklin was recovering from injury. Mauk was 3-1 in his four starts, but he also struggled at times in the passing game. His chief competition, Eddie Printz, earned a lot of buzz as the scout team quarterback and this could turn into an interesting competition as the spring progresses. Missouri also has to find replacements for key cogs on defense with Michael Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Kony Ealy and E.J. Gaines all moving on.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter