Ryan Bartels, a redshirt freshman from Sycamore, IL, was officially named the starter at quarterback for UND’s week 1 game vs. Valparaiso. Bartels was in a camp-long competition with fellow redshirt freshman Joe Mollberg of Detroit Lakes, MN.
From everything we have heard and read about the QB battle, it is apparent that it is far from over. Bartels had the best camp when evaluating tape and adding up the stats, therefore, he got the nod heading into Week 1. With Mollberg being right there with him it tells us this competition is going to be going on for awhile.
What Bartels brings to the table is true, old-style QB play. He does not have an overly-strong arm but is very accurate. Bartels is not overly mobile so don’t look for him to have any designed runs but he can move around the pocket fairly well. His biggest asset appears to be his intellect. Bartels is a very smart QB, who from all accounts, can read the defenses very quickly and make the right throw. In that regard, he reminds us of his current QB coach, Danny Freund.
What Mollberg brings to the table is a rugged QB frame (6’2″-230) and a rocket arm. He is also much faster than Bartels, making him a threat to run the ball on designed plays. From all accounts, Mollberg does not quite have the accuracy (but is close) or the ability to read defenses as well as Bartels does. Not that he is bad but just not as good. However, he bring much more arm strength and athleticism to the table. Which leads us to our next thought:
Look for both QB’s to play in the game on Thursday, regardless of the score. Mollberg can certainly be brought in to run the ball in a spread-read option look. We don’t think we will see constant rotating but wouldn’t be surprised to see a situational snap or three for Mollberg.
Once again, this battle is far from over. There is one hellacious schedule awaiting Bartels and if he happens to struggle, which we obviously hope he doesn’t, Mollberg is certainly capable of stepping in and taking his shot at running the offense. With all the weapons they have at WR, there is no reason why either of them should not have success in the passing game this year.
*QB Related Note: Freshman QB Sam Riddle has apparently transferred back to his home state of Oregon and will be attending Linfield College.
** REMINDER: Q&A Session tomorrow at 12pm – Lunch & Learn. Submit questions via comment section and we will answer as best we can underneath each one.