The 2016 Rainbow Warrior football season will seem familiar to fans. The quarterback position is up for grabs once again. The scary thing is that team has one quarterback with game experience. Furthremore he is far from cementing his place in the depth chart.
With the departure of Max Wittek, Ikaika Woolsey is the only quarterback who has seen game action. When Woolsey got his chances, the offense seemed more effective then with Wittek. But his bad TD-INT ratio (5/6) and sub 50% completion percentage shows he can't be the starter this year. So far the new coaches like his maturity level and poise on the field. These attributes might be good for a leader but mean little if he can't make strides to improve on seasons past.
The team has two other quarterbacks returning in Aaron Zwahlen and Beau Reilly. Both will be given a legitimate shot to start from the get-go.
Zwahlen was a highly touted recruit out of high school in 2013 but was away from football while on a church mission till last year. Fortunately, he was able to use that season to get back into the swing of things. Through spring Zwahlen has shown off his great arm that was highly regarded when he was recruited. In addition, he is noted to be a hard worker and a student of the game.
Reilly has been with the scout team for two years. Last season, the coaches were willing to burn Zwahlen's redshirt rather than dress Reilly. I'm not sure what will be expected of him coming in but he did not factor into the 2015 plan at all. However in spring practices, the new regime seemed to look at him differently. They lauded his ability to get the ball out fast and scan the field.
|11||Ikaika Woolsey||6'1"||215 lbs||R-Sr||Rodeo, California/Salesian HS|
|15||Aaron Zwahlen||6'3"||200 lbs||R-Fr||Modesto, California/Thomas Downey HS|
|16||Beau Reilly||6'6"||190 lbs||R-So||Valley Center, California/Valley Center HS|
During spring practice the coaches added Hunter Hughes, a walk-on, to the roster. Hughes has a good arm and pairs that with good athleticism. Not a lot has been said about his status on the team but coaches did that no one has pulled away for the starting job yet.
The team will be adding Cole Brownholtz and freshman recruit Cole McDonald on scholarship in the fall. Brownholtz shows an accurate arm and uses his legs well to avoid pass rushers. McDonald is a dual-threat quarterback that should get redshirted.
There will also be two non-scholarship fall additions: Dru Brown and Kyle Gallup. Brown is light on his feet and displays nice touch on his throws along with his live arm. Gallup throws a really nice accurate ball but seems to lack foot speed and quickness.
|10||Hunter Hughes||5'11"||190 lbs||R-So||Lake Zurich, Illinois/Lake Zurich HS|
|-||Dru Brown||5'11"||200 lbs||So||Los Gatos, California/Sierra College|
|-||Cole Brownholtz||6'4"||200 lbs||So||Carmichael, California/College of San Mateo|
|-||Kyle Gallup||6'2"||215 lbs||R-Fr||Parker, Colorado/Marshall University|
|-||Cole McDonald||6'3"||195 lbs||Fr||La Habra, California/Sonora HS|
When fall comes around, Woolsey should get the starting nod with Zwahlen hot on his heels. Practice and scrimmages can only show so much and the coaches will go with game experience to start. The team will not want rush Zwahlen's development if they don't have to. Yet, if Woolsey performs poorly the coaching staff may have no choice but to see what they have in Zwahlen.
That will surely make fans happy as he seems have developed a good fan base despite not taking a snap in a game. Despite the uncertainty, the Rainbow Warrior quarterback group will be anything but dull in 2016.