Football: Pelini says Stephen Curtis will “probably” be starting quarterback for season opener

Mohamed Abdihakim

Owls head coach Carl Pelini says Stephen Curtis will ‘probably’ be the starter for the season opener on Friday against Wagner. In five games last season, Curtis completed 10 passes for 90 yards. Photo by Michelle Friswell.

FAU’s starting quarterback from last year might be starting the season on the bench.

As of now, the team has yet to pick a starting QB from top candidates Stephen Curtis and Graham Wilbert. However, it’s looking more like Curtis, last year’s backup, will be starting Friday, Aug. 31 versus Wagner.

“Probably Curtis,” head coach Carl Pelini said of his likely starter for the season opener on Friday.

Pelini has kept reporters and fans waiting on his decision. The former Nebraska defensive coordinator has been promising for weeks that he would make the call on the starting QB, but as of two days until the season opener, no starter has been picked.

Wilbert was last year’s starter and had seven touchdown passes to go along with 15 interceptions, on a .524 completion percentage. In training camp, though, offensive coordinator Brian Wright initially gave the edge to Wilbert.

“Graham [Wilbert] has experience. He has an understanding, really better than any of them, of the offense,” Wright said to the UP. “He’s really understanding when and who to throw it to. He’s doing a good job of that, managing the game.”

Curtis didn’t see much action last year, starting the season as a third stringer before working his way up to a backup role. Yet, he has the advantage of being a more mobile QB. At 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, he presents a combination of mobility and size that fits well with running plays, something that Pelini appreciates for his new spread system.

“No matter who’s at QB, we want to establish the run”, Pelini said. “We want to get the QBs more involved in the run, probably less involved with Graham in there.”

With everything being so new with FAU football this year, nothing seems to be set in stone as of yet. Pelini has told players as deep as third string to be ready to play. Quarterback Nick Bracewell is now working with the third unit while transfer Melvin German continues to wait for his eligibility.

“You’re gonna see a lot of rotations. This is our first game. We haven’t gotten in game situations yet,” Pelini said. “You try to simulate that with scrimmages, but you can’t. How they react on Friday will determine a lot … [including] what the depth chart is going to look like.”

The Owls’ season kicks off this Friday, Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. against the Wagner Seahawks at FAU Football Stadium.