Coming into the Old Dominion spring game, Jonah Fitzgerald was largely untested, only having thrown for 21 total yards in his freshman season, but emerged as the surprise of the game.
Fitzgerald, who is a product of Hidden Valley High School in Roanoke, showed a new wrinkle in his game with his mobility.
Fitzgerald scored the only rushing touchdown among the quarterbacks, a 53 yarder. This breakaway showed off his ability to run, an ability that had not been revealed prior. Fitzgerald also led the way with 180 yards passing however he did throw an interception.
“I thought I did what I expected to do, whatever the defense gives you is what you have to work with but I’m still learning and working,” Fitzgerald commented. “I think I fit in good, I’m strong mentally and a lot of the game is mental.”
“I worked on gaining weight and getting a little more velocity on the ball and getting stronger over the offseason.”
Fitzgerald was the only active member of the quarterback corps from last season, and he benefited from it.
“Last year Blake (LaRussa) became one of my best friends on the team, and got extremely close since I’ve been here and having that experience helped me a lot,” Fitzgerald said.
“It’s good to see all three quarterbacks playing well,” coach Wilder said. “This reminds me of going into 2016 when David Washington was coming off the ACL [injury] at Southern Miss in 2015. What I saw today from all the quarterbacks makes me feel good, we are going to need to run the ball some this year at quarterback, with as good as we have the chance to be at running back, we need that 12th man option at quarterback to run the ball.”
On Fitzgerald’s surprising 53-yard touchdown run, Wilder commented “It was a zone read option, and the end crashed and he kept it. The linebacker missed an assignment and it was a short yardage situation, and we teach our quarterbacks “if you can keep it and get the first down do it.” It was good to see him (Fitzgerald) run the way he did.”
“If he is going to play at quarterback, he is going to have to run the ball,” Wilder remarked about what it will take for Fitzgerald to earn the starting spot.
Between the quarterbacks, this thing isn’t over yet, and I wouldn’t expect a resolution until August.