A year removed from heading into the season with a number of questions and a lot of inexperience, the Thunderbird offense is bringing back the majority of their core players from last season with a few notable exceptions.
After one week of practice, SUU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Justin Walterscheid expressed his thoughts on what he has seen so far.
Q: You’ve had about a week with this offense now, what are your early impressions?
A: It’s spring ball so we’re excited to be playing football again to get back into it. We’ve got one week under our belts which usually means were not as worried about assignment, now we can focus more on execution and making plays. We saw some of that today, especially towards the end.
Q: Nearly every role player from last year’s offense is back, minus a few, what does that really mean for the unit heading into the upcoming season?
A: That’s huge for us. Last year we go into the season as a young offense, now we go in the season as an experienced offense and it makes a huge difference. Now we’re not so much worried about teaching the base plays, now we’re able to create wrinkles off those plays. We’re able to focus more with our players on their craft and less on their assignment. We’ve still got to have a quarterback, which is a pretty important deal, but aside from that we’re pretty much returning 21 of 22 we feel like.
Q: You have three quarterbacks out here taking reps in spring (Aaron Zwahlen, Chris Helbig and Tyler Skidmore), what’s your evaluation through the first week?
A: Right now, Aaron Zwahlen knows the offense the best. He’s been in it for a year, and the other two guys are new. What made us excited after the first practice was the fact that we’ve got three guys with arm talent, where we feel like their ability is similar amongst the group to the point that we’re not going to change the offense based on who the guy is. They all can throw the football, which is very exciting. They have some mobility and can post that threat as well, but most importantly they can throw the four verticals and threaten the entire field.
Q: What do you want to see the unit as a whole improve on the most in the second week, heading into the third?
A: We’re going to install a little bit more of the offense tomorrow. We want to see those guys handle what’s already in, but grow with the rest of the playbook. But the biggest thing is we want to compete. We want to see guys compete, make plays, and start to do things that will make them special. Separate them from the average offenses in the country.
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SUU Athletics Strategic Communications