Phillip Ely. The Blade/Katie Rausch
The University of Toledo has its quarterback — at least for now.
Toledo coach Matt Campbell said Monday that Phillip Ely, a redshirt junior transfer from Alabama, will start Saturday's game against New Hampshire after a three-sided battle for the top spot during the offseason.
Though Ely will take the first snap, Campbell wouldn't rule out the possibility of sophomore Logan Woodside or redshirt freshman Michael Julian playing at some point in the game.
“Right now, I think Phillip's our starter, and then we will go as the game dictates,” Campbell said. “He's certainly earned the right to start Game 1.”
Ely had long been considered the favorite to start. He committed to the Crimson Tide out of high school, but only threw four passes in two years there before transferring to Toledo.
After sitting out last season, Ely won the job in fall camp. Of the three quarterbacks, Ely was the most effective during open scrimmages, and Campbell said the coaching staff believed Ely was the right choice to begin Toledo's first game.
“I would say up until this point right now, [Ely's] body of work had been the most consistent going into Game 1,” Campbell said.
It has been a long waiting period for Ely. He has not taken a competitive snap in two years and he has not started a game since he was a high school senior. The 2010 Florida 5-A state championship game was the last time he took his team's opening snap.
“And that was a loss, too,” Ely said. “I gotta make up for that.”
Campbell said Toledo feels comfortable with Ely's decision-making, which the coaches believed was the most important criteria in the process of picking a starter.
During Ely's waiting period, he said he finally had a chance to be a fan, something he had not done previously. In that time, he said, that's when he learned about the position — and more importantly — himself.
“I think that's when you learn how to be patient,” Ely said. “I've had many years to think, so it's kind of cool to sit back and kind of watch. Last year was kind of cool to be a fan of the game, and I've never had a chance to do that.”
Ely gave credit to the coaching staff for the constant pushing of all three candidates, which he said made everybody better.
The waiting, the competition and the job insecurity always gave Ely something to be working toward, and in long run, gave him something he thinks will help come Saturday.
“It really put into perspective, do I really want to be here? How bad do I want this thing?” Ely said.
“I just made a commitment right there and then that I'd be ready when it was my time.”
MAC ON BSCN: BCSN will broadcast four Mid-Amercian Conference football games and a minimum of 10 men’s basketball games and six women’s basketball games in the upcoming seasons.
This one-year agreement with ESPN grants the BCSN exclusive broadcasting rights on Buckeye CableSystem.
BCSN is on Channel 8 and HD 608 and BCSN 2 is on Ch 109 and HD 609 on Buckeye CableSystem.