UND football in no hurry to name starting quarterback
By Tom Miller
Forum News Service
GRAND FORKS — Speaking after the University of North Dakota football practice Friday morning, March 23, at the High Performance Center, Fighting Hawks offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Paul Rudolph’s voice was hoarse and nearly gone all together.
The way he’s praising his highly anticipated quarterback battle, it’s safe to say Rudolph didn’t lose his voice ripping into his signal callers.
“We’re barely a third of the way through spring, and I think giving them all a fair chance is the best thing we can do,” Rudolph said. “I’ve been really pleased with all three.”
Rudolph said the team won’t rush a depth chart and is willing to let the race go into the summer if necessary.
“I don’t know if we’re ready to name it a two-horse race or a one-horse race,” he said. “Letting it go into summer, a lot of positives can happen. Sometimes the guy separates himself and the team congregates that direction.”
Vying to replace four-year starter Keaton Studsrud are junior Nate Ketteringham, redshirt freshman Brock Boltmann and junior Andrew Zimmerman.
Zimmerman was the only one of the three eligible for playing time last season. The junior college transfer and one-time Eastern Washington recruit played in four games but started none. He was 21-for-41 for 339 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
Boltmann is the only one of the three with no collegiate experience. However, he does have an impressive prep resume. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Edina, Minn., native passed for more than 3,000 yards and 32 touchdowns playing for his father, Reed, who was head coach of the Hornets.
Ketteringham might be the most intriguing of the three based on his ideal size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and his track record of production at Sacramento State, where he threw for 3,391 yards and 24 touchdowns across 16 starts.
“Nate’s got a special arm,” Rudolph said. “I don’t know if in my 30 years of college football I’ve seen an arm as strong as his. He has other good tools, too. He has a good brain. I’m real pleased working with him, as I am the others, too.”
Ketteringham sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules and ran the Fighting Hawks’ scout offense.
“I think his biggest hurdle is going to be getting comfortable with everything we’re doing,” Rudolph said. “But he has a good brain. We aren’t holding anything back and seeing how much he can absorb. It’s going to take some time. At the same time, I don’t think he’s that far away.”