Tuberville keeping Cincinnati QB competition open
CINCINNATI (AP) — Munchie Legaux expects to get the question again this week: Will he be starting at quarterback for Cincinnati, or is incumbent Brendon Kay getting back the job?
He’ll give the same response he did last week: a shrug.
“Some teammates were asking me and Kay who is starting,” Legaux said on Tuesday. “We don’t know who will be the starter this coming week. I’m pretty sure guys are going to ask us who’s starting. I’ll say the same thing: I don’t know.”
Even though the Bearcats won their opener 42-7 over Purdue on Saturday with Legaux as the starter, coach Tommy Tuberville is keeping the job open to competition heading into a game Saturday at Illinois (1-0). Whoever has the best week in practice will get the start and the bulk of the playing time.
“This will be a big week for both quarterbacks, seeing how they improve,” Tuberville said. “We made mistakes. We made enough mistakes that it could have cost us if it had been a closer game. So we’ve got to cut back on those mistakes.”
Legaux lost the starting job to Kay midway through last season. Kay was in line to start this season until he developed a sore passing shoulder during camp, forcing him to miss a lot of practice time. Tuberville decided to go with Legaux in the opener because he’d run the new offense a lot more than Kay.
Legaux threw for a touchdown and ran for another in the opener. The senior was much smoother on his throws and avoided forcing the ball into coverage for the most part. He had one pass intercepted in the end zone when he threw to a covered receiver.
Overall, Legaux was 13 of 20 for 145 yards with a pair of interceptions. He also ran six times for 55 yards.
“I felt pretty confident out there,” Legaux said on Tuesday. “I was just relaxed. I didn’t put too much pressure on myself to go out there and play a great game.”
Kay got in for a couple of fourth-down plays, running once for a first down and punting the next time when the defense was looking for him to keep the ball. With the game in control, Kay replaced Legaux for the final series of the third quarter and finished it out, going 4 of 5 for 59 yards.
Kay said his passing shoulder is mostly healed.
“Actually yesterday, it felt better than it has in a long time,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s definitely getting there and I’ll be ready to go on Saturday.”
Cincinnati has gotten away from the spread offense favored by former coaches Brian Kelly and Butch Jones. The Bearcats passed only 25 times against Purdue, although that was partly a function of the lopsided score and the extreme heat that pushed on-field temperatures well above 100 degrees.
In Tuberville’s debut, the Bearcats slowed the pace and handed off a lot.
“It definitely was slower than we’re used to,” Kay said. “At the same time, it was 120 degrees on the field so we couldn’t go out there and run fast tempo the whole time.”
Even though the Bearcats essentially ran plays to run out the clock in the fourth quarter, Kay was glad for the chance to get into the game.
“It’s always nice to get out there, especially with spending as much time as I have rehabbing,” he said. “It’s definitely nice to get out there and just feel healthy. You don’t feel any of the pain when you’re out on the field playing the game.”
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