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Brunson struggles, Testaverde makes statement in UAlbany spring game

Aidan Joly

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ALBANY — When the afternoon began, it did not seem like Vincent Testaverde had much of a shot to be the UAlbany starting quarterback, seemingly sitting as the backup for most of spring camp and Will Brunson presumably back for a second full season as the starter.

On Saturday, that changed.

Testaverde, the son of former New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde and transfer from Miami, put together an impressive performance, especially in the second half of the 2018 UAlbany spring football game. He struggled a bit to find a groove in the first half but flipped a switch in the second.

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He got the ball for the first offensive drive of the second and impressed the entire way, with three nice throws and the drive ending in a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jerah Reeves. Later on in the second, he threw a 20-yarder to Luke Thompson for his second pass into the end zone. All in all, he went 11-18 passing with the two touchdowns.

“It always feels good. It’s a good confidence-booster to get the guys in the end zone, but I’m just going to go in, watch the film next week and see what I can improve on and get ready for summer ball,” Testaverde said.

Meanwhile, Brunson struggled throughout the afternoon, throwing an interception and fumbling two snaps. One of the fumbled snaps was recovered by defensive lineman Anthony Lang, who returned it 64 yards for a defensive touchdown. It is not a good look for Brunson after he was the starting quarterback for a team that went a disappointing 4-7 last season. However, he did throw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Craig Ransome early on that served as his highlight for the day. However, Brunson was positive about his team’s performance.

“Having a new system offensively it was tough for guys to kind of get a rhythm and get used to it. We came a long way in 15 practices so I’m proud of our guys,” Brunson said.

The new system that Brunson talked about is one under first-year offensive coordinator Joe Davis, who had spent the last two years at Fordham.

Head coach Greg Gattuso did acknowledge that there will be a competition for the starter job come this summer and said that both quarterbacks still have improvements to be made.

“I would say the quarterback spot is wide-open. I’m just to the point now where somebody’s just got to start making plays,” Gattuso said. “Guys got to execute and right now we’re struggling a little bit in that capacity.”

If Testaverde were to win the job, it would be UAlbany’s fifth different primary starting quarterback in as many years. The last time someone was the team’s primary starter for consecutive seasons was Will Fiacchi, who started from 2012-2014.

The Great Danes open the 2018 season on September 1 on the road against FBS foe Pittsburgh. The home opener is set for two weeks later on September 15, facing Morgan State.

Aidan Joly joined Upstate Courier Sports in February 2016 and became managing editor of the sports department in August 2017. He covers Section II athletics, the Siena men's basketball team and the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Aidan attends Saratoga Springs High School and will be attending Canisius College in the fall of 2018. Aidan can be contacted through social media (Twitter is @ByAidanJoly) or by email, joly@upstatecourier.com