Battle Looms at QB Spot

Aug. 11, 2001

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

A big question heading into the season for the University ofWyoming football team is: Who will be the starting quarterback?

Will it be sophomore Casey Bramlet from Wheatland?

Bramlet is the favorite after taking nearly all the snaps during springdrills. He has a strong arm, a sharp mind and the eagerness to be thestarter.

Or will it be senior Matt Swanson?

The Boise, Idaho, product has played in 17 games for UW. And for the firsttime in two years, Swanson has a healthy right throwing shoulder afteroff-season surgery last winter. Because of that, Swanson was not able totake part in spring drills.

The edge in offensive coordinator Rusty Burns' mind goes to Bramlet.

"Casey's the guy to beat out right now," Burns said Friday during UW'sannual media day at War Memorial Stadium. "In my mind, he had a very goodspring.

"He's grown up quite a bit. We told him he had to grow up a lot and be aleader, and he's done that."

The job isn't Bramlet's yet. There will be competition, with the main pushfrom Swanson.

Redshirt freshman J.J. Raterink, true freshmen Corey Bramlet (Casey'syounger brother), Matt Belshe and Jovon Bouknight all will be battling forthe No. 3 spot.

Bramlet and Swanson both say they are looking forward to the competition.

"I know both me and Swany are going to have to come out and compete for thejob," Bramlet said. "That helps us both out.

"The competition will make both of us better. We're going to compete againsteach other, and also support each other."

While Swanson says he would like nothing more than to be the starter as asenior, he adds that he only has one objective this season.

"I want to win games," said Swanson, who has thrown for 1,100 yards, seventouchdowns and eight interceptions over his UW career. "I want to go to abowl game, and I want to win a bowl game. If I can do that contributing as astarter or as the backup, I'll do it either way."

Swanson also is battling for UW's starting punter job.

Is there a quarterback controversy in the makings?

"We're not going to let that happen," Burns said. "Like anything else, youhave to have two or three guys ready to go.

"I've told them that if you're not the starter, you're going to come off thebench and be ready to go at any time."

Added Swanson: "From the outside looking in, it could look like acontroversy. But as far as the quarterbacks go, there's no controversy."

Burns added that he and head coach Vic Koenning plan to make a decision on astarter after a couple of fall scrimmages. Burns also said he doesn't wantto get into the pattern of rotating quarterbacks on a regular basis.

"But there will be a time and place where each will have an opportunity," headded.