EDITOR'S NOTE: UABSPORTS.com is profiling the Blazer quarterbacks on a daily basis this week. Steve Irvine takes a look at the UAB trio of newcomers at the position -- Austin Chipoletti, Evan Orth and Stevie Farmer.
By Steve Irvine
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- Incoming quarterbacks Austin Chipoletti and Evan Orth approached fall camp with a similar outlook. Both wanted to convince the UAB football coaching staff that they are the best option at quarterback.
"You've got to play so well that they don't want to take you out," Orth said. "That's the way I've always thought. It's hard going from the bottom but, at the same time, you always have to start there. You just have to compete all the time and there's no letting up because the other guys aren't going to let up."
Chipoletti, a recent transfer from Weber State, can't play in games this season but that hasn't changed the way he performs during fall camp.
"I think we have some competitors in our quarterback room," Chipoletti said. "I don't want to think about it as a year off at all. I really do enjoy the weight room aspect and things like that. Really I'm looking forward to growing and just competing with the guys, even though I can't play this year."
Much of the attention, at least from outside the program, has been directed toward the battle between junior Cody Clements, redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe and senior Myles McKee during fall camp. Most perceive that to be the top of the depth chart but no depth chart has been released to anyone outside of the program. No matter how the depth chart looks, though, Orth, fellow true freshman Stevie Farmer and sophomore Chipoletti are part of quality depth at quarterback for the Blazers.
"One day I got a call from Coach Vincent, asking me if I was still available," Orth said. "I said `Yeah' so he offered. I came up for a visit, signed a day later."
Orth is a versatile quarterback, who has good speed and size. He arrived in May and began working out with his new team.
"We've seen a total change in him, which is what you'd expect out of a young guy," said UAB head coach Bill Clark. "He already was a good athlete, runs very well, we just want him to get stronger."
Orth said he already feels like a different quarterback than when he arrived in Birmingham.
"It's amazing how much better I am in knowing all the reads and knowing all the plays and doing it quick with the tempo," Orth said. "The offense is really fast. I had three months over the summer getting it all down and ready to go. Coach (Clark) said I'm so far ahead of a lot of the people that come in July."
Chipoletti arrived at UAB later than most but he still had a head start on learning the Blazers' offensive system. His father, Derek, who was his head coach at two Florida high schools, runs the same offense.
"I've literally run this offense since I was 14 years old, same plays just different names," said Chipoletti, who is from Jacksonville, Florida. "As a college player, when you get a new staff in or you transfer, you try to forget all your old stuff. Well, in my case, it's really helped me remember the old stuff. It really hasn't been that big of a change for me, just the terminology."
Picking up new terminology hasn't been a problem for Chipoletti, whose days have been consumed by football for a long time.
"Most people, growing up, they go to school, play football and go home to do schoolwork," said Chipoletti, whose father played in college at the University of Central Florida. "For me, on the ride to school we're talking about football, during school we're talking about football, in football we're talking about football and around the dinner table we're talking about football."
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Chipoletti made an impact quickly at Weber State. He played in all 12 games last season as a true freshman with starts in nine of the final 10 games. He finished 172 of 302 passing for 1,650 yards with eight touchdowns. The program went through a coaching change after the season and he began searching for a spot closer to his Florida home. One of his former coaches at Weber State was a college teammate of UAB tight end coach Richard Owens and the two talked about Chipoletti looking for a new home.
Now Chipoletti is settling in at UAB. Clark likes what he's seen from his newest quarterback and said that he expects Chipoletti to push for the top spot on the quarterback depth chart during spring practice.
Farmer, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound dual threat quarterback who finished his prep career at Athens High, is still learning about college football but he has ability.
"I think the future is strong," said McKee. "I think Coach Clark has done a great job of bringing some guys in that are going to be really good for the program."