Zach Smith has the arm strength to be the University of Tulsa’s starting quarterback.
Smith, a redshirt junior quarterback, sat out last season after transferring from Baylor, where he started 10 games. During that time when he was only allowed to practice, and during the Hurricane’s first week of fall camp this season, Smith has displayed the arm that first got him to a Big 12 program.
“There’s a lot of guys that can throw it, but to play the position you gotta be able to think,” TU coach Philip Montgomery said. “You gotta be able to operate when things are flying around you, and you gotta stay calm and collected in that process.”
The natural talent is what got Smith to Tulsa. Now Montgomery is using the fall camp to see if he has the other assets to start at quarterback for the Hurricane. Otherwise, on paper and from past experience, Smith would most likely be TU’s starter today, without a position battle from Seth Boomer, who started the Hurricane’s final eight games last season.
“I think, No. 1, he’s gotta get in a good relationship with the receivers, them getting on the same page,” Montgomery said. “(He’s) still got to get more comfortable with what we’re doing offensively. He’s got a good grasp of it, but now it’s taking, we call a play, in my head I’ve verbiage-wise told the line what to do, receivers, I know their routes. Now it’s finding the defense, ‘Where are these holes gonna be pre-snap that’s gonna help me make decisions quicker, get the ball out of my hand, and then be precise and consistent with where I’m putting the football?’”
Nearly a week into camp, Smith and Boomer are still splitting reps. Those close to the program believe Montgomery will not name a starting quarterback until Aug. 30, when the Hurricane kicks off its season against Michigan State.
“Whoever’s in, we’re gonna protect for them,” offensive lineman Chris Ivy said. “At the end of the day that’s what we gotta do, whether they play those two or whether they play a younger guy. That’s our job: we gotta protect. But with both those guys back there, I’m definitely confident that they’ll get the job done, so it makes my job easier.”
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