Tonight I break down the quarterback position for all nine teams in the WAC.
Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
2008 stats: 208-of-383, 2,849 yards, 22 TDs, 7 INTs; 161 rushing attempts, 1,298 yards, 17 TDs
Team's 2008 record: 7-6 overall, 5-3 in WAC
Kaepernick is a different kind of player. At 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, he is anything but a classic drop-back quarterback. What he does do well is move in and around the pocket and can get downfield with his legs. Kaepernick remains a streaky passer, prone to hot and cold spells. His scrambling ability sets up well though in the Wolf Pack offense, which sports a handful of good running backs. The one risk with Kaepernick is injury. His style could lead to big hits and possible missed time. If he went down, the Nevada offense wouldn't be the same.
Kellen Moore, Boise State
2008 stats: 281-of-405, 3,486 yards, 25 TDs, 10 INTs
Team's 2008 record: 12-1 overall, 8-0 in WAC
Moore had a big freshman season last year, fitting in nicely in the Bronco offense and putting up big numbers. Moore was poised throughout the season and perhaps the most impressive statistic was Boise State's 12-1 record and Poinsettia Bowl appearance (the team lost 17-16 to TCU). The bottom line is that Moore put up gaudy numbers, and Boise State continued its high level of play. It spoke volumes about the freshman signal caller from Prosser, Washington. This year, the team loses some weapons on offense, namely running back Ian Johnson and wide receiver Jeremy Childs. The Broncos should have a solid supporting cast once again around the QB, however. One would think Moore should come close or eclipse his numbers from last season.
Diondre Borel, Utah State
2008 stats: 136-of-242, 1,705 yards, 11 TDs, 10 INTs; 179 rushing attempts, 855 yards, 5 TDs
Team's 2008 record: 3-9 overall, 3-5 in WAC
Many are predicting Utah State to be the most improved team in the conference. If the UtAgs are going to become a factor in the WAC race, Borel will need to continue building on his strong 2008 season. He took over the starting job in Week 4 and led the UtAgs to a 3-6 record following his promotion. One of those losses came to BYU. The team was also much more competitive in the games Borel saw extensive action, suffering a seven-point loss on the road at Louisiana Tech and a two-point defeat at home to Fresno State. Borel led the UtAgs in passing and rushing last season. He's a dual threat out of the backfield and seems poised for a big year.
Greg Alexander, Hawaii
2008 stats: 154-of-245, 1,895 yards, 14 TDs, 5 INTs
Team's 2008 record: 7-7 overall, 5-3 in WAC
Alexander started seven games last year for the Warriors, leading them to the Hawaii Bowl. His numbers were impressive, with a nice 14-5 TD-to-INT ratio. Hawaii has lost a lot of its offensive punch since June Jones moved on the SMU, but the team should still move the ball at a nice rate in 2009. If Alexander is the full-time starter for the Warriors, he should be solid once again.
Kyle Reed, San Jose State
2008 stats: 162-of-253, 1,563 yards, 9 TDs, 6 INTs
Team's 2008 record: 6-6 overall, 4-4 in WAC
Reed is borderline on this list, but I think he will have a good year for the Spartans. SJSU will remain a run-first team, built around a strong defense. Reed will be asked to make the occasional big play, execute mistake-free football and be clutch. I expect the Spartans to be solid once again, a reflection of the team's quarterback.
Nathan Enderle, Idaho
2008 stats: 184-of-339, 2,077 yards, 20 TDs, 17 INTs
Team's 2008 record: 2-10 overall, 1-7 in WAC
Enderle appeared in all 12 games for the Vandals, tossing 20 touchdowns in the process. Enderle managed to do it without the benefit of a true No. 1 receiver, although H-Back Eddie Williams (54 catches, six TDs) was reliable once again in his final year with the Idaho. Enderle is streaky, throwing 17 interceptions as well. He will benefit from a strong running game behind him, although still lacks a true No. 1 and will play behind an offensive line that will be a work in progress. The team brought in junior college QB Brian Reader and freshman Taylor Davis, so there will be competition.
The great unknown
New Mexico State
Jeff Fleming, Trevor Walls, Tanner Rust
Team's 2008 record: 3-9 overall, 1-7 in WAC
This threesome is extremely unproven and a timeshare at the position seems like a distinct possibility. Fleming is more mobile than Walls, although Walls seems to be a more natural thrower of the football. Rust will be raw as a freshman, although he's a great athlete who could see the field as the season progresses. NMSU needs solid play from this position, whether it be a two-headed monster, a freshman stealing the show or another alternative. There is inexperience and potential here.
Ross Jenkins, Louisiana Tech
2008 stats: 92-of-174, 1,155 yards, 7 TDs, 3 INTs
Team's 2008 record: 8-5 overall, 5-3
Jenkins was solid down the stretch, leading Louisiana Tech to a 6-2 record in the team's final eight games and an Independence Bowl win over Northern Illinois. Jenkins will have to do it again, this time as the team's unquestioned starter in 2009. The team doesn't have exceptional targets in the passing game - Phillip Livas is a great player but is more of a specialty receiver. One WR to keep an eye on is Cruz Williams, who has a ton of potential after sitting out the 2008 season. Jenkins will need to have a solid year for La. Tech to reach its full potential.
Ryan Colburn, Ebahn Feathers, Derek Carr
Team's 2008 record: 7-6 overall, 4-4 in WAC
There is a lot of inexperience here as well, although whoever wins the job steps into a good situation - strong running backs, solid receivers and a offensive line that has notoriously held up under coach Pat Hill. Colburn, a junior, seems to be next in line, although Carr - younger brother of former Fresno State standout David Carr - could make some noise. Either way, this is a position of intrigue for the Bulldogs.