Fresno State Football

Fresno State goes with Zack Greenlee at quarterback

Fresno State football scrimmage highlights

A look at Fresno State's running backs during practice; Bulldogs coach Tim DeRuyter offers his thoughts on the final scrimmage, held Monday, Aug. 24; QB Zack Greenlee talks about the QB competition. Video by Anthony Galaviz / agalaviz@fresnobee.co
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A look at Fresno State's running backs during practice; Bulldogs coach Tim DeRuyter offers his thoughts on the final scrimmage, held Monday, Aug. 24; QB Zack Greenlee talks about the QB competition. Video by Anthony Galaviz / agalaviz@fresnobee.co

Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter on Wednesday disclosed the winner of the Bulldogs’ three-way quarterback competition, with redshirt sophomore Zack Greenlee getting the nod.

While DeRuyter reiterated that more than one quarterback would play Sept. 3 against Abilene Christian, he and offensive coordinator Dave Schramm have stated that the quarterback who protects the football and limits mistakes will be the one to play – and Greenlee has for the most part done that.

He has performed well in all three live scrimmages, checking protections, remaining poised under pressure and getting the Bulldogs in and out of plays. Greenlee has run the No. 1 or No. 2 offense for nine series over the three scrimmages and eight times produced points.

“There was a lot of deliberation, obviously; it’s an extremely important position,” DeRuyter said.

“But we also know that we have good competition there and we’re going to play at least two quarterbacks. So no matter who we name as the starter, we anticipate and hope he has a ton of success, but we’ve got to get a couple of quarterbacks ready not just for this year but for the future.”

0 Number of interceptions Zack Greenlee has thrown in a 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 period since the first week of camp

Greenlee played in three games last season with one start, a loss to Wyoming, and completed 18 of 41 passes (43.9%) for 213 yards and one touchdown. His passing efficiency rating was only 95.59 – Brian Burrell was at 117.76 by comparison – and averaged 5.2 yards per pass attempt. But that experience has had him in front of the competition since the end of the spring, emerging ahead of redshirt freshman Kilton Anderson and freshman Chason Virgil.

Ford Childress, a junior transfer who started his career at West Virginia, joined the position group in the summer and has been playing catch-up within the offense.

Greenlee, Virgil and Childress have been vying for the job the past two weeks, with Anderson falling back after the first of the three scrimmages.

Since Zack Greenlee has been out in front and held onto a slim lead in the competition, the second quarterback in the game may provide more intrigue: Ford Childress or Chason Virgil

Since Greenlee has been out in front and held onto a slim lead in the competition, the second quarterback in the game may provide more intrigue.

Virgil graduated early from high school in West Mesquite, Texas, to enroll at Fresno State in time to participate in spring practices, and is a true freshman.

But with the exception of a four-day stretch in the middle of camp, he has performed well and heads into game week trending upward. True freshman or not, if judged ahead of Childress at this point, Virgil would play.

When at Utah in 2009, Schramm started a true freshman in Jordan Wynn over the final five games of the season. The Utes went 3-2, including a Poinsettia Bowl victory over Cal where Wynn was selected the most valuable player after hitting 26 of 36 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns.

“It doesn’t matter how well one of them does, who starts, another will play because we have to develop depth there,” DeRuyter said. “I look at Chason as somebody who is competing for a starting job and if you’re in the top two, we’re not going to redshirt you. The second guy has to be ready to go.”

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