Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
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Quarterback battle leads spring game storylines for UT football

The battle for starting quarterback will be front and center as the University of Toledo football team conducts its spring game at 7 p.m. Friday at the Glass Bowl.

The game, originally scheduled for Saturday, was moved up a day because of weather concerns.

Looking to replace an all-time program great quarterback in Logan Woodside, junior Mitch Guadagni and sophomore Eli Peters are the leaders for the starting job.

“They are getting better,” Candle said at a recent spring practice. “I’m happy with their growth to a certain extent. I think [they] all have a long way to go in their development. And we have to find out what they do well and really build upon that. We have to rally around their skill and build and formulate a plan of how you can attack defenses based on that. We’ll be just fine if we can do that.”

Whoever emerges at quarterback will have a loaded backfield and receivers group to work with. In the backfield, Art Thompkins and Shakif Seymour return after successful seasons last year behind Terry Swanson.

VIDEO: Rockets reschedule spring game

The receiver group is strong with the return of Cody Thompson to pair with Jon’Vea Johnson and Diontae Johnson. Danzel McKinley-Lewis and Desmond Phillips should be productive in the slot as well.

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Toledo quarterback Mitchell Guadagni, pictured against Elon last season, and Eli Peters will battle to fill the shoes of graduated signal-caller Logan Woodside.

BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH Enlarge

Other things to watch: 

1) Defensive line rotation: The defense loses key contributors on the line with the departure of Marquise Moore, Zach Quinn, and Ola Adeniyi.

The key returnees include Nate Childress and Tuzar Skipper, but a crop of young and relatively inexperienced players will attempt to provide a solid rotation at the defensive tackle and defensive end spots.

“The goal there is to play a lot of bodies and have a good fluid rotation,” Candle said. “With the physicality of that position, their production will drop off through the course of the game if we don’t have a fluid rotation. We have to make sure to get depth developed and that’s what spring is for.”

2) Position switches: Several Rockets will be making a shift to new positions, most notably last year’s starting tight end Jordan Fisher, who is converting to linebacker this spring.

Also, Ronnie Jones is switching from safety to running back to provide depth there.

3) Guest coaches: Toledo is bringing back several former standouts to help coach the teams. David Fluellen and Michael Roberts will help coach the Blue team, while Kareem Hunt and Rolan Milligan will assist with the Gold team.

Contact Brian Buckey at: bbuckey@theblade.com419-724-6110, or on Twitter @BrianBuckey.

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