By Thomas Baldwin
On the very last play of the University at Buffalo’s football practice on Wednesday morning, Bulls quarterback Chazz Anderson tried to connect with wide receiver Alex Neutz at the goal line during a fourth down drill.
The ball was batted away, but there were two problems during the play.
First, Anderson was under tremendous pressure and was fortunate to get the pass off, barely avoiding a sack. Second, Neutz was the victim of an obvious pass interference penalty, an infraction which is not called during scrimmages.
Incomplete or not, the play is significant to Neutz.
“It shows he has trust in me to make a throw like that,” said Neutz, a sophomore from Grand Island who had 26 catches for 414 yards and four touchdowns last year.
It has been a week since Anderson has been named UB’s starting quarterback. He and Neutz are working on the paramount chemistry between a quarterback and a receiver, which the Bulls hope will result in many completions and touchdowns this season.
UB, which went 2-10 last year, opens this season Saturday at Pitt.
“It’s going real well, he (Anderson) has a real good grasp of the offense,” said Neutz, who is a returning starter for the Bulls. “He is concentrating and is definitely ready to get into some action against Pitt, and get the feeling of the game again.
“You can see it in his eyes — he is definitely focused. He stays after (practice) every day to work on the little things. It is good to see, and it shows good leadership.”
Anderson, who played for four years at the University of Cincinnati under second-year Bulls head coach Jeff Quinn, is very familiar with the complicated and tricky no huddle offense.
“That has to be a plus,” Neutz said. “He has confidence, and knows where to make the reads and how to throw the ball. It is definitely a plus having him already know the system.”
Neutz also feels it is a good thing that UB has named its starter at quarterback. The offensive players in general are relieved they know who the starter will be, and that there is no uncertainty as the days leading up to the season opener quickly evaporate.
“As a receiver, it is nice to know who we will be able to focus on as our starting quarterback against Pitt,” Neutz said. “But at the same time, if something should happen to Chazz, Alex Zordich, Joe Licata or Jerry Davis can easily step in because they know the offense. We have confidence in them because they can get the job done as well.”