PITTSBURGH — When the Duquesne Dukes board their flight to leave for their season open in Amherst, Massachusetts this Saturday, they will have a starting quarterback — probably.
Head coach Jerry Schmitt has a decision to make, after the graduation of 2017 quarterback Tommy Stuart. It’s come down to a pair of candidates in third-year South Fayette alum Brett Brumbaugh, and redshirt junior FAU transfer Daniel Parr.
But with just a few days to go before the Dukes face UMass, Schmitt isn’t in a hurry to make a decision.
“I don’t have a date,” he said to Pittsburgh Sports Now. “We may go in with two quarterbacks, if we have to.”
Brumbaugh has played in 11 games over his first two seasons as a backup signal caller and has plenty of experience in offensive coordinator Anthony Doria’s system.
“Brett has been here for a few years and aside from the experience of being with us, he’s really, really intelligent and understands the entire offense, which gets everybody where the need to be,” Schmitt said. “That’s a big thing with him. He’s obviously a big kid that can throw it. He’s working on consistency with his throws.”
Parr, meanwhile, is a talented passer that was highly sought after coming out of Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He chose FAU over FBS offers from Akron, Marshall, Miami, Minnesota and Temple. But he spent three years in the shadow of his 2015 classmate, Jason Driskel, and decided to transfer to Duquesne.
“Dan is learning the system, has a really good arm, played in a system where it was big-time college football,” Schmitt said. “So, nothing’s going to rattle him. He’s going to learn the system. It’s a good battle right now.”
The rest of the Duquesne offense is pretty much status quo, with top receiver Nehari Crawford and preseason all-American running back A.J. Hines back in the fold. That should put less pressure on whichever quarterback emerges as the starter.
“Those guys make up for a lot of mistakes or a lot of the learning curve that a new guy would have,” Schmitt said. “But then, no, because they have to get on the same page. It takes a while and I’m a little impatient, expecting more, and driving my staff and those guys to get better quicker.”
So Schmitt wants to see improvement quickly, but he also isn’t afraid to change his mind once he gets into the season. Meaning that whoever boards the flight to Massachusetts won’t necessarily have the job locked down.