University of Toledo football coach Jason Candle said he and his coaching staff are a ways off from deciding who their starting quarterback will be this season, and this spring was just one step in the process of determining who will start in the fall.
Toledo head coach Jason Candle watches the action during the University of Toledo football spring scrimmage Friday, April 13, 2018, at the Glass Bowl.
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On Friday at the Rockets spring game at the Glass Bowl, Candle saw flashes of promise but also saw plenty of room for improvement for junior Mitch Guadagni and sophomore Eli Peters.
“We’re a long way away from announcing who our starting quarterback is going to be,” Candle said. “There was some good and some bad like every practice. We just have to continue to get better and continue to evaluate. They are going to make some mistakes. They don’t have four or five years of experience.”
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The Blue team, led by Peters, won the game 10-7 against the Gold team. Both quarterbacks showed good chemistry with key receivers.
Peters found sophomore Bryce Mitchell for three catches for 58 yards and added an 18-yard touchdown catch on a pass from receiver Desmond Phillips after Phillips took the ball on a reverse. Unofficially, Peters was 6-of-14 passing for 80 yards.
“I tried to come into the game and treat it as a game-type atmosphere, but at the end of the day it’s just like every other practice,” Peters said. “You still have to bring the same amount of effort every day. It’s cool to see the fans come out, and it adds a little spice to the game.”
Guadagni developed some good chemistry with Diontae Johnson, connecting on two passes with the junior receiver, including a 29-yard strike down the sideline as Johnson broke free from the defense. Guadagni unofficially was 6-of-10 for 86 yards.
“I don’t think it’s separated between the spring and this game,” Guadagni said. “I think it’s all about your performance throughout. It’s a good way to see the ending of it, but I definitely lump it together with all the rest of the spring.”
Guadagni said it has been a good feeling taking snaps with the first unit this spring.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Guadagni said. “It’s three years now that I have been in the program. Spring ball was a lot more fun this year than it has been so far.”
Peters said the timing with receivers has been a focal point during the spring.
“It goes back to just watching film with our receivers on our own,” Peters said. “It’s about getting a feel for what they see on a play and trying to put my mind through what their mind goes through. I think consistency with that will get us to where we want to be.”
Other standout performers were the running backs for the Blue team. Converted safety Ronnie Jones rushed for 63 yards on eight carries and recent transfer Bryant Koback added eight carries for 45 yards.
“It was good to see him out there doing well,” Candle said of Koback. “I’m sure he’s excited to get back out [there] and to be in pads and certainly to be in front of his hometown crowd. It’s a really good running back room and a lot of guys have a lot of ability and it’s going to be fun to watch those guys compete.”
Both offenses looked rusty at times and there were plenty of sacks for the defenses as all the quarterbacks were in non-contact jerseys. But overall, Candle was pleased with how the game turned out.
“Forty-eight minutes of a running clock, you are going to have a low-scoring game,” he said. “It was a good culmination to a really good spring in my opinion. A lot of young guys were doing really good things. It was good to see our fans out and have a chance to be in front of them and put some heat on our guys to be out there and playing in game situations.”
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