Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones named Zach Collaros as his starting quarterback on Monday. Collaros, who led the Bearcats to a 4-0 record while subbing for the injured Tony Pike last season, had a strong spring according to Jones.
"I thought (Zach) and Chazz Anderson did a great job all spring, but about the last week and a half of spring football you could really see Zach taking off, understanding the offense," Jones said. "We talk about functional intelligence and he could now play comfortably and it looked like he was really in control. He could complete all the passes, he understood the offense, he had great command getting the ball to his second and third reads in his progression. You could see his play elevate over the past couple of weeks."
On Saturday, in the team's spring game, Collaros gave fans a taste of what to expect. The Steubenville native completed 18 of his 20 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns. Chazz Anderson completed 5 of 10 passes in rainy conditions for 61 yards and one touchdown. Fans got their first chance to see Jones's new style of coaching and offensive philosophy. Jones even ventured into the stands to let fans call plays, but reminded fans that the Bearcats will try to remain an offensive juggernaut.
"There's some differences and a few nuances but a lot of it is the same as well," Jones said of his offensive style. "An uptempo offense, no-huddle, and we may be a little more balanced but the best coaches play to the strengths of their football team and we have to do a great job of getting the ball in the hands of our playmakers."
Wide receivers D.J. Woods and Vidal Hazleton both had over eighty yards receiving on the evening, and Woods hauled in a touchdown pass at the end of the first half of play from Collaros. "I feel very comfortable and confident that we have some very good playmakers out on the perimeter and in the backfield as well," Jones added.
The UC Bearcats will begin the season on Saturday, September 4 in Fresno, Calif., with a rematch against the Fresno State Bulldogs. Last season UC defeated Fresno State 28-20 at Nippert Stadium.