Herink, Marchi battling for Bucs’ QB job

Joe Avento • Updated Aug 9, 2018 at 6:23 PM

The old saying goes if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one.

Whether you believe that or not, that’s the dilemma the East Tennessee State football team might be facing in a couple of weeks.

Three weeks before the season opens, the Bucs have two quarterbacks — Austin Herink and Logan Marchi — vying for the starting position, and if one has taken the lead in the race for the job, only the coaches know.

The quarterbacks are handling the competition well.

“I believe competition makes everyone better,” Herink said. “Throughout this offseason, it’s pushed me more than I’ve ever been pushed before. Not that I haven’t had competition, but I’ve had to work harder and do more things than I’ve ever had to do before. It’s made me a better player and person.”

Herink has started all 33 games the Bucs have played since football was reinstated.

Along the way, he has made his presence felt in the school’s record book. In addition to moving up the charts in all the passing stats, he holds at least two school records. He completed his first 15 passes against Limestone last year and he rushed for 134 yards against Kentucky Wesleyan in 2015, a school record for a quarterback.

Marchi, a junior, came to ETSU from Temple when Marcus Satterfield joined new coach Randy Sanders’ staff. Satterfield didn’t make it through the spring, having left for Baylor to work for former Temple head coach Matt Rhule.

Marchi, along with another Temple transfer, linebacker Jared Folks, remained with the Bucs.

“ETSU’s an up-and-coming program,” Marchi said. “It’s a great spot. The president’s doing a lot of great things for the university. It’s good to see guys who just love being out here. Being around guys who love football makes it fun.”

Marchi started seven games at Temple last season and had nine touchdown passes and eight interceptions. Two of his touchdowns came against Notre Dame, but none of that matters now that he is battling for the Bucs’ starting job.

“Competition is making everybody better,” Marchi said. “Within the whole team, the competition is good.”

Sanders says the two quarterbacks are about where they were when spring practice ended, keeping in mind they are competing while also learning a new offense at the same time.

“While they have pretty good recall and pretty good understanding, they still have to get a lot of experience with just seeing route combinations with the drops, just understanding protections and how it all fits together,” Sanders said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.

“I have to get them to where they understand it so well, they do it almost without thinking. We’ll get there.”

Sanders has a few more weeks before he has to chose his starter. The team’s first scrimmage, scheduled for Saturday night, will help him form his opinion of the quarterbacks.

“At this point, I’m going to just try my best,” Herink said. “If that’s enough, great. If not, I gave it my all and I tried my best because this competition has certainly brought out they best in me.”

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