July 9, 2010

Penna. power changing uniforms, quarterbacks

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

DUNCAN, S.C - Jefferson Hills (Pa.) Thomas Jefferson is doing its very best Oregon Ducks impersonation at the Palmetto State Showdown.

The Western Pennsylvania Class AAA power has worn three different uniforms - yes, NIKE uniforms - in its first six games.

And as if that wasn't enough to confuse spectators, the Jaguar identity crisis has extended onto the field. The team has been using this event as a tryout for its three quarterbacks vying for the starting job.

"I'd like to stick with one," head coach Bill Cherpak said. "But right now, no one has taken control of the position and we have to rotate those guys in and out."

The trio has been splitting snaps with a regular rotation, which played out on Friday something like this.

The typical game begins with two series for senior Ryan Crouse.

Those two are followed up by one series of action for junior Dominic Pesto.

And the rotation is closed out with one series on the field for sophomore Joe Carroll.

Regardless of results, it is lather, rinse, and repeat for the three.

So far, all have had mixed results.

"No one has looked sharp over any consistent period," Cherpak said. "They are all young and inexperienced. But, each brings something different to the competition."

And interestingly enough, all three agree on each other's assets.

Crouse, at 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, sees the field the best.

Pesto, who also stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 160 pounds, is the fastest.

Carroll, the tallest at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, has the strongest arm on the deep ball.

Cherpak, meanwhile, would love to roll them all into one.

"The three of them together would make one hell of a player," he joked. "No matter who comes out on top, we won't ask them to win the game for us. We will make sure to take the pressure off."

Right now, all three say there is no pressure.

"I see it as an open competition," Crouse said.

"It is anyone's job to win," according to Pesto.

Even the youngest, Carroll, feels like he has his chance to show himself.

"Coach doesn't look at grade," Carroll said. "He will do what's best for the team."

What's best for the team may end up being a combination of the three.

"If the situation dictates it, I will rotate them," Cherpak said. "I'd like to enter the season with one guy as the leader. But if he struggles, we'll make the change. It may be halftime of the first game. Who knows?"

Cherpak, never one to hide how he is feeling, says he has a slight leader.



"His experience," he said. "I guess."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

"Crouse probably sees the field the best right now," he added. "He doesn't make as many mistakes as the younger guys but that's because they are young."

But he is not ready to call Crouse the starter just yet.

"We still have a few more events we are going to," Cherpak said. "There are a lot of snaps to take and balls to throw. All those guys still have a chance to prove themselves."

That's a chance the trio appreciates.

"I like getting all of the reps," Pesto said. "Even if I don't end up the starter, I am grateful to be playing."

Carroll, too.

"I am starting to understand the offense better," he said. "To get to be out and throwing the passes in live action is great."

Crouse, however, is starting to see the finish line.

"I don't want to act like I have the spot, but I feel good about it," he said. "We all have to keep working hard and pushing each other. That is how we will get better."

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