Miami head coach Chuck Martin was out of time.
After six months of open competition between three players, Martin had to reveal his starting quarterback against Iowa. Someone had to receive the first snap of the 2019 season last Saturday.
True freshman Brett Gabbert was the man to do it, and he responded with 186 passing yards and two touchdowns. Despite the RedHawks losing by a final score of 38-14, he kept Miami in the game until the middle of the fourth quarter.
At his weekly press conference on Monday, Martin announced that Gabbert had done enough against the Hawkeyes to earn himself the start against Tennessee Tech this Saturday.
“Are we ready to anoint him the king and the quarterback race over? Probably not,” Martin said. “It’s one game. I don’t know. Maybe some people are. To me, he’s ahead of two other guys I think are really good. Obviously, he’s starting this week. That’s based on last week, and we’re going to see how it plays.”
Gabbert played all but Miami’s last offensive series in Week One. Redshirt sophomore Jackson Williamson quarterbacked the final drive. He will assume the backup role once again this week, with redshirt freshman AJ Mayer slotted as the third-stringer.
Even though he currently sits third on the depth chart, Mayer is “still in the mix,” per Martin.
Two weeks before the season kicked off, Martin told The Miami Student he would be shocked if he didn’t play more than one quarterback against Iowa. He reiterated that on Monday.
“We went in the game, planning on playing two,” Martin said. “That was the plan. We didn’t have a plan of specifically how that was going to work out. We decided to start Brett based on what happened in fall camp … The way the game went and the way Brett was playing, it never came into play to take him out in that situation. He was playing well.”
Who is Tennessee Tech?
The Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles, a Division I Football Championship Subdivision program, caught fire late in their season-opener against Samford.
Down by 16 points with under three minutes to go in regulation, Tennessee Tech scored 16 points in 99 seconds to send the contest to overtime.
The Golden Eagles won 59-58 after converting a two-point conversion in double overtime. They’ll look to build upon that momentum against Miami on Saturday.
Offensively, they’re led by sophomore quarterback Bailey Fisher, who threw for 415 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for three more scores in Week One.
The Tennessee Tech defense surrendered 562 total yards and 9.7 yards per play against Samford.
Miami and its fans will see familiar face Ian Leever line up against the RedHawks on Saturday. Leever, a graduate transfer offensive lineman, played in 26 games for the RedHawks from 2016-2018. This is his first season at Tennessee Tech. He started at right tackle in Week One.
The teams will collide at 2:30 p.m. at Yager Stadium on Saturday, and the contest will air on ESPN+.
A double dose of ’Hawks Talk
“Somehow the world doesn’t work on Labor Day, which is an interesting concept that no one works on Labor Day. I think that’s why it’s the national holiday. You’re supposed to get today off, so not sure what we’re all doing here right now.”
-Chuck Martin said with a laugh, joking about his team’s Labor Day press conference.
“It’s probably the coolest tradition in all of college football. Being down there, you’re worrying about, ‘Oh, I dropped a ball. I had a missed assignment.’ You look up at the kids in the hospital, and you realize your problems aren’t that big.”
-Redshirt senior wide receiver Luke Mayock on the Kinnick Stadium tradition of waving to kids in the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital