Mavs name Cisco starting QB
Colorado Mesa University football coach Russ Martin is confident any of three quarterbacks could start for the Mavericks.
With the season opener two days away, he decided on a starter, but he might give the other two an opportunity Thursday night against No. 21 Humboldt State (Calif.) University in Arcata, Calif.
Redshirt freshman Deke Cisco will start the opener.
“I’m ready,” Cisco said. “I’m really excited. I feel comfortable. I’m excited to play again.”
He ran the scout-team offense and watched the games from the sideline last fall and was ready to go in the spring. By the end of the spring, he often led the first team.
“In the spring, we had grade sheets,” Cisco said. “Whoever graded out the highest was the starter for that day. I graded out the highest the last week.”
Cisco (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) ran a similar spread offense in high school, throwing for 900 yards and rushing for 1,200 yards while leading his team to a No. 1 ranking in Arizona. He was an all-region and all-state pick.
“Right now, he’s got a little bit better overall command of the offense and the checks,” Martin said. “He’s probably leading the team a little bit better. He can throw it and run it.
“Deke has thrown the ball so much better. We have quite a few elements in the vertical passing game in our system.”
Cisco’s ability to run the ball fits perfectly with Martin’s spread-option offense.
Last year when Martin was at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, quarterback Jake Spitzlberger led the Lopers in rushing with 1,077 yards. He threw for 2,656 yards.
“The option pitch is definitely one of our big plays,” Cisco said. “We can always audible pretty much. It’s one of our biggest audible plays. I haven’t really run it in high school, but we’ve run it a lot here.”
Although Cisco may start, it doesn’t mean juniors Austen Fales or Jason Haferman won’t play.
“We’ll see how things go,” Martin said. “Our players have confidence in each one of those guys.
“Have we set a specific pattern? No. We want to see how the flow of the game is going. We want to have the other guys seeing stuff. At times, it’s a good thing for a quarterback playing to come over to the sideline and see things from the sideline for a play or two.
“There is no set rule you can only play one quarterback. I think you can utilize multiple quarterbacks. It makes it tough on teams to defend. I think all of them can run and throw the ball.”