UNI Starts Fall Camp With Four Possible Starting QBs

By Jake Bemis, Reporter

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By Grant Burkhardt

CEDAR FALLS — As the Northern Iowa football season gets underway, head coach Mark Farley wants to emphasize the point of consistency to his team. But this season looks to be anything but consistent.

For the first time in the Farley era, UNI will face two FBS opponents, including a season opener against Wisconsin.

“They’re a top five team in the country.” Farley said Saturday in his media day news conference. “It’s a great opportunity for these players to step out on that field, because that’s an experience and there’s a lot of value with experience.”

The Panthers play Iowa Sept. 15.

“Camp is more crucial this year just because of the way the schedule lines up,” Farley said. “We have to be very good very early.”

Ranked No. 9 in the FCS preseason coaches’ poll, UNI heads into training camp looking to replace first team All-MVFC quarterback Tirrell Rennie. Farley said the competition is more than a two-man race for the starting spot.

“We’ve got four quality (young) quarterbacks,” he said. “All four of them should be mentioned in the same breath, not just two of them.”

Red-shirt sophomore Jared Lanpher and red-shirt freshman Sawyer Kollmorgen stood out in the spring game, but SMU transfer Stephen Kaiser and freshman Justin Black also will compete for the spot.

The quarterback battle, according to the coaching staff, will take place over a four-week span. Each week, the staff will remove one quarterback from the race until the starter has been decided.

Carlos Anderson, an offensive captain, and David Johnson lead the backfield once again for the Panthers, and senior Terrell Sinkfield leads an otherwise young group of wide receivers.

The defense has an experienced secondary, but replacing the linebacker core, including MVFC Defensive Player of the Year L.J. Fort, will be the key for success. The starting spots will be chosen from a five-man battle, including Kansas transfer Jacob Farley, the head coach’s son.

“The one thing I know about Jake is that he grew up on this program,” the elder Farley said of his son. “He knows what we’re about, how we’re going to play and what we expect.”

UNI has preseason All-Americans in senior cornerback Varmah Sonie and place-kicker Tyler Sievertsen of Cedar Rapids. Sievertsen made 18 of 20 field goal attempts and all 39 extra point attempts last season.

The Panthers open the season Sept. 1 at Wisconsin in a game that will be shown on the Big Ten Network.
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