LARAMIE — Dave Christensen wasn’t about to name a starting quarterback when camp opened.
One month later, he’s no closer to a decision.
Redshirt freshman Emory Miller Jr. and true freshman Brett Smith began an open competition during spring camp that will extend deep into fall and long after another rookie, Adam Pittser, joins the fray.
“Nobody is going to be announced as the starting quarterback until probably the week before the first game,” said Christensen, UW’s third-year coach, after Smith and the Gold team beat Miller Jr. and the Brown 14-13 in Saturday’s Spring Game. “We want the competition there. They’re both playing well and we have another young man coming in I think can compete also.”
Smith earned more repetitions with the top offensive unit as spring camp wore on, but Christensen said that Miller Jr. held a slight edge heading into Saturday’s game.
It seems unlikely that changed, though statistics did favor Smith slightly.
“I was pleased with the way the quarterbacks played,” UW offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon said. “Brett Smith did some nice things. He’s definitely a dual-threat guy.
“And it was nice to see Emory drive us down at the end there and put [Brown] in position to win the game.”
Smith completed 16 of 24 passes for 153 yards and threw one interception. He added nine carries for 22 yards and a first-quarter touchdown.
Miller Jr. completed 9 of his 18 pass attempts for 98 yards, including a 36-yard scoring pass to Mazi Ogbonna. However, he was intercepted twice. Miller Jr. rushed seven times for 16 yards.
“Going into this game Emory was a little bit ahead and I need to evaluate it,” Brandon said. “It’s a great battle and we’ve got another young man, Adam Pittser, coming in here next month.
“We’re just young at quarterback, definitely, with all freshmen, and young at receiver.”
On the offensive side of the ball, camp was all about uncertainty.
Along with the quarterback battle, UW tinkered with the offensive line almost daily, rotated through receivers trying to find consistency and struggled with a running back corps marred by injuries.
“It’s a work in progress, definitely,” Brandon said.
However, that’s not a dramatic surprise.
“We’re certainly going in the direction I envisioned us going,” Christensen said. “This offense is something that if you don’t have the proper personnel in line to do it, it’s difficult to do. I think we’re a lot further ahead than we’ve been since I’ve been here.”
When fall camp resumes, he’ll simply need to decide on a quarterback to call the shots.