The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

75° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Lyon waits in wings as new backup quarterback

    UA backup quarterback Tyler Lyon throws a football during Fridays spring practice at Jimenez Practice Facility. Lyons currently ranks second on Arizonas depth chart at quarterback, putting him ahead of senior Kris Heavner as the lead backup to starter Willie Tuitama.
    UA backup quarterback Tyler Lyon throws a football during Friday’s spring practice at Jimenez Practice Facility. Lyons currently ranks second on Arizona’s depth chart at quarterback, putting him ahead of senior Kris Heavner as the lead backup to starter Willie Tuitama.

    Tyler Lyon has moved from under-the-radar scout team player to the first option behind starting quarterback Willie Tuitama.

    Last season Lyon sat behind Tuitama, Adam Austin and Kris Heavner on the depth chart.

    But with Austin having completed his college eligibility and Heavner suffering from an unspecified back problem, Lyon has moved his way up to the No. 2 role, with Heavner going back to the third-string offense.

    Tuitama and Lyon, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound Newhall, Calif., native, have taken the majority of the snaps this spring to get acclimated to the Wildcats’ new spread offense.

    “”He’s got to come through,”” Stoops said of Lyon. “”This is going to be a big spring for him.””

    If next season resembles last year’s quarterback carousel, Lyon may see reasonable playing time.

    When Tuitama suffered the first of three concussions in week two at Louisiana State, Austin and Heavner both started receiving considerable playing time. The two quarterbacks appeared in eight games, including two starts for Austin and one for Heavner.

    Now there’s a new name in that backup mix.

    “”I feel like I put in my time last year,”” Lyon said. “”Even though it was a different offense and different coaches, I got used to the speed of the game and how different the game is now than it is in high school.””

    “”They’re going with Tyler right now,”” Heavner said. “”He’s young, he’s talented, he’s pretty good, so let’s see what he can do and take it from there.””

    Despite high

    You always want to come out and compete and want to play, but I’ve got to understand my role and take it from here.

    – Kris Heavner,
    senior quarterback

    praise from teammates and coaches, Lyon is keeping a modest attitude early on and gladly accepts his role behind Tuitama.

    “”I’ve never played in a game,”” he said. “”Willie’s been here two years playing in games. He knows how it is. When I get my chance, I get my chance. … I’ll have the opportunity to see if I can get it done when the place is packed and everyone gets the opportunity to see who the gamers are.””

    Heavner has been limited to light activity in practice.

    “”It’s not doing so well right now,”” he said. “”I’m struggling with my back.””

    Heavner returned to Arizona in 2006 after transferring to Baylor for his junior year. Despite his struggles, he is learning to accept the fact that he may see less playing time in his senior season.

    “”You always want to come out and compete and want to play, but I’ve got to understand my role and take it from here,”” he said.

    Stoops said the team will most likely stick to only three quarterbacks in the fall, adding that Heavner will “”do a lot of the same things he did last year in the same capacity.””

    Arizona also has walk-on freshman Jimmy Bevell listed fourth on its depth chart and incoming freshman Bryson Beirne.

    “”If Tyler doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do, we’re going to play the guy that gives us the best chance of winning, but we’ve got to give Tyler a good opportunity to see if he’s got what it takes to run the system,”” Stoops said.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search