UC Davis opens spring football camp on Tuesday with uncertainty at quarterback.
With senior and four-year starter Randy Wright graduating and sophomore backup Jimmy Laughrea opting not to return, finding a new starting quarterback is second-year coach Ron Gould’s top priority.
The Aggies are bringing City College of San Francisco transfer Turner Baty into spring camp to compete with inexperienced returners London Lacy and Ben Scott.
Baty, 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, passed for more than 6,000 yards with 55 touchdowns for CCSF. He is the son of Greg Baty, who played tight end for eight seasons in the NFL, primarily with the Miami Dolphins. Turner Baty led CCSF to a 12-0 record and the community college national championship in 2011 before transferring to Kansas, where he didn’t play. He returned to CCSF last season, and the Rams finished 8-3.
Lacy, 6-2, is entering his fourth season with the Aggies, but he didn’t throw a pass last year. He has appeared in only eight games and thrown only 21 passes in three seasons. Scott, 6-3, also did not play last season after redshirting in 2012. Inderkum’s C.J. Spencer, a highly touted recruit, will enroll in the fall and could be in the mix.
“I’m just as curious to see who our quarterback is going to be,” Gould said. “It’s going to be really competitive. I’m excited to see who will take that (starting) spot.”
The 15 days of spring football, culminating with the Blue and Gold game April 26, will reveal a lot, Gould said, as the team tries to improve on its 5-7 record (5-3 in the Big Sky Conference).
“Spring football allows our young players to get a significant amount of reps, so we can create some depth,” Gould said. “You get a feel for what you have and what you are lacking.”
It also will be the debut for three members of the coaching staff. Dan Finn (offensive line) and Paul Creighton (tight ends) have been hired as assistants, while former UC Davis player Anthony Soto will be the offensive quality control assistant.
They replace Aggies assistant coaches Ben Steele (tight ends) and Matt Wiegand (offensive line) and quality control staffer Quinn Tedford, all of whom were with Gould when he was a top assistant to Jeff Tedford at Cal. The trio have joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where Jeff Tedford is the new offensive coordinator.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to work in the NFL, so we wish them well,” Gould said. “But we feel very fortunate to get experienced coaches with a wealth of knowledge in Dan Finn and Paul Creighton.”
Finn coached the offensive line at Utah the last two seasons. He also has worked as an assistant at Idaho and San Diego State. Finn is familiar with the Big Sky as a three-time all-conference offensive lineman at Northern Arizona. He was a practice squad player with the Denver Broncos and played in NFL Europe.
Though he will coach tight ends, Creighton spent the last three years as a defensive-line coach at Colorado State-Pueblo. Creighton, who played tight end and fullback at Colorado, was a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach for two seasons at Auburn, including when the Tigers won the national championship in 2010.
Soto, a former Aggies wide receiver, will assist the offensive coaches in film breakdown and game planning. He caught 107 passes for 1,269 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Aggies from 2009 to 2012.
The Aggies will have arguably the toughest schedule in school history.
They open Aug. 30 at Stanford and play at Colorado State on Sept. 13. They also will play last season’s top three finishers in the Big Sky, including champion and Football Championship Subdivision semifinalist Eastern Washington on Sept. 27 in Davis.
Call The Bee’s Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.