COLUMN: Quarterback Dormady has every tool to start this season
It's one thing to look like a starter, and it's another to play like one.
From Central Michigan's open spring practice on April 13, it's safe to say Quinten Dormady has the makeup of a starting quarterback at the Division I level.
And it doesn't hurt that Dormady once was a starting quarterback at Tennessee, a well-known SEC powerhouse program.
The graduate transfer from Houston looked good - really good.
Dormady showcased four valuable skills – composure, leadership, passing ability and experience, which are four traits a quarterback needs for a team to be successful.
With head coach Jim McElwain watching from the sidelines at Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Dormady completed a number of tough throws throughout practice. Of those throws, a few included a wheel route pass to running back Jonathan Ward and double-coverage deep ball in the end zone to wide receiver Brandon Childress.
Dormady's only interception was to senior safety Da'Quaun Jamison. His arm was superb and decision-making was exceptional.
During CMU's open practice, Dormady took snaps with what seemed to be the first team. He was alongside receivers Childress, JaCorey Sullivan and Kalil Pimpleton, running back Ward, tight end Tony Poljan, center Steve Eipper and others expected to be top players on offense.
"He looks good, so are the other guys," McElwain said. "It's fun to see him progress in learning what we want to do. It was good to see those guys move the team."
Dormady also showed his leadership and experience through helping other players. When a receiver wasn't lined up correctly, Dormady went over to him, established the player and continued on with the play. Regardless of the playbook, his ability to spot out the mistake and fix it on the fly was impressive.
"He leads us, and he knows where everybody needs to be," Sullivan said of Dormady. "If I don't know something, he'll be the one to tell me where to be and what route to run. He has a strong arm, pretty accurate."
Right behind Dormady was Tommy Lazzaro, a quarterback who started six of the seven games he played in during the 2018 season.
Lazzaro spent most his time on the field with running back Kobe Lewis, fullback Hunter Buczkowski, tight end Bernhard Raimann, wide receivers Tyrone Scott and Julian Hicks, along with a slew of offensive linemen which included Romello Tarver and Jeff Strome.
David Moore, a transfer from Garden City Community College, was the third quarterback on the field in a number of scenarios. Other quarterbacks Daniel Richardson and George Pearson entered most of the drills after Dormady, Lazzaro and Moore.
"I think they've done a good job, I think Daniel and George have done a good job," McElwain said.
Earlier in the day, during the Kids Clinic, Director of Football Operations Ben Presnell named five "captains" to lead the children through drills. Four of the five were returning players with tons of experience playing for the Chippewas.
Dormady was the odd man out, as he's only been in Mount Pleasant for a few months. Nonetheless, Presnell picked him to lead the youngsters. This showed just how much the staff trusts Dormady, and it's also an example of how familiar he already is with the community.
In 14 total college games, of which one was at Houston, Dormady completed 102-of-181 passes for 1,290 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. He was a six-game starter for the Volunteers in 2017 before sustaining a season-ending injury.
From the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Michael Oliver said each quarterback has specific traits that stand out to him.
"They are all good in my book," Oliver said. "They all come ready to play, always prepare and always execute."
Despite the practice success from Dormady, Lazzaro and Moore, McElwain isn't ready to name a quarterback. He wouldn't even name a top group leading the way.
It's clear McElwain wants to tab the right guy as his starter.
"We'll get that ironed out as we go through the summer and see who takes leadership and ahold of this football team," McElwain said.
From everything I saw, Dormady is the guy. Otherwise, it's Tommy time.