WARRENSBURG — Offense is always on display at UCM Mules football games, and last season was no exception.
UCM led the MIAA by scoring nearly 36 points per game, but three contributors of those points all graduated — quarterback Hayden Hawk, running back LaVance Taylor and tight end Cullen Rosine.
Hawk was second in the conference with 221 passing yards per game, and that’s with Taylor being the focal point of the offense.
With Hawk gone, the Mules find themselves with a few options to replace him.
Redshirt junior Garrett Fugate was the backup last season, but was also the starting punter. He was sixth in the MIAA with an average of 40 yards per punt and had a 62-yarder in the Texarkana Bowl.
The 6-foot-3 Fugate is a dual-threat at quarterback, gaining 128 yards on 25 carries last season.
Head coach Jim Svoboda said redshirt freshman Brook Bolles is similar to Fugate because of his ability to run.
Redshirt junior Eric Siebenshuh is more of a pocket passer.
“Siebenshuh is probably throwing the ball the best right now,” Svoboda said. “He’s athletic, but he’s not as fast as the other two. The challenge we have in terms of evaluating is we don’t go live with the quarterbacks, so the athletic guys probably don’t get to display fully what they bring to the table.”
Receiver Andrew Bakker said he’s a fan of the quarterback competition and likes what he’s seen out of Siebenshuh and Fugate.
“I see it as really good for our team because they are competing and everybody’s building on each other,” he said.
Whoever wins the job will be running new offensive coordinator John McMenamin’s offense. McMenamin joins the Mules after being the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Wayne State in Nebraska.
“We put in some new plays that are a lot different from last year,” Bakker said. “Some new stuff, some good stuff though. I really like what we have.”
McMenamin may be new to UCM, but he’s not new to Svoboda. McMenamin was a record-breaking quarterback for Svoboda at Northwest Missouri State from 1998-2002.
“For the most part it’s the stuff we’ve been doing and what I’ve been doing that we’ve evolved to, but John also brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from him having done his own thing for the last seven years,” Svoboda said. “… I recruited him, he played for me, and so we have a great history together and a great understanding of what we do in the passing game. Where we’re really doing some different things is in our run game with our quarterbacks that are mobile. We’re adding some dimensions there.”
So if Fugate or Bolles take the reins, the Mules can utilize McMenamin’s plan for mobile quarterbacks.