Jaquez Johnson may have started 11 games and accounted for 2,667 yards of offense last season, but that doesn't mean when FAU travels to Nebraska on Aug. 30th the junior quarterback will be the one taking snaps.
FAU coach Charlie Partridge has made it clear this spring that Johnson is competing with Greg Hankerson for the Owls’ starting quarterback job, and Monday after practice the first-year head coach revealed just how long the battle could play out.
“I don’t see us naming a starter for the first game until we’re a week or two into [fall] camp,” Partridge said. “At that point, I think it will declare by then.
“You still give the edge to Quez on overall evaluation, but Greg is right there and it’s a good competition right now.”
The thought of extending the competition another four months may seem fatuous, considering what Johnson was able to accomplish last year with offensive coordinator Brian Wright, but so far this spring, it’s been Hankerson who’s made a charge.
The sophomore pieced together a near-perfect performance in the first scrimmage of camp a week and a half ago, and has followed it up with a few strong practice sessions.
While Partridge admits that he has been impressed with how Hankerson has carried himself, there is still some work left, if Hankerson is to close the gap between him and Johnson.
“We got to see Greg be consistent,” Partridge said. “We got to make sure he’s taking care of the football first and foremost. He’s [got to be] a general on the field, because you know without really being a huddle team, your huddle is going on during the whole signal phase and he needs to continue to learn to be a general, because that’s his huddle.”
Hankerson will have a chance to show he’s got command of the offense on Saturday when FAU host it’s Red and Blue Scrimmage at FAU Stadium at 1 p.m.
Partridge plans to have the first-team offense and first-team defense face the backups in the scrimmage, but place a few players who are competing for playing time with the starting units. Hankerson is expected to be one of those individuals, and will rotate with Johnson.
Freshman Jason Driskel is one of just two early-enrollees in for camp, and with the final spring scrimmage approaching, Partridge gave his young quarterback a vote of confidence.
“The things you would think you would see, troubles with cadence, troubles with formations - he’s doing a nice job that way. He’s got a nice handle with a lot of offense in. I’ll give him a lot of credit, he’s come in and worked hard to learn the offense,” Partridge said.
Driskel, the brother of Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel, is slated to be the Owls’ third-team quarterback in the fall.