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College football: Sioux tab transfer Bradley as starting QB

GRAND FORKS - University of North Dakota football coach Chris Mussman has settled his team's starting quarterback battle. Mussman announced Friday that sophomore Joey Bradley will start at quarterback next week when UND opens the 2011 season agai...

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GRAND FORKS - University of North Dakota football coach Chris Mussman has settled his team's starting quarterback battle.

Mussman announced Friday that sophomore Joey Bradley will start at quarterback next week when UND opens the 2011 season against Drake at the Alerus Center.

Bradley, a junior college transfer from California, and senior incumbent Brent Goska had been challenging for the starting quarterback position during UND's fall camp.

"We've charted every segment of practice and Joey's completion percentage was better and his passes were in the right spots," Mussman said. "We just seem to click better when he's in there."

Bradley, who is 6-foot-1 and 178 pounds, will be taking his first snaps as a Division I quarterback. The Issaqua, Wash., native spent last season at Diablo Valley Community College in California, where he led all of California community colleges in passing yards (3,636) and passing touchdowns (33) en route to all-state honors.

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Goska, known as a strong runner, saw action as a sophomore and junior. As a sophomore, Goska played in six games, completing 12 of 21 passes for 113 yards. Last season - after senior starter Jake Landry suffered a season-ending injury - Goska made four starts. In nine games overall last season, he connected on 42 of 77 passes for 413 yards.

"The hardest part of the decision was that I know how much Brent means to this football team and his teammates," Mussman said. "I won't say he's accepted the decision, but he's handled it with class. With Brent, his leadership has been very important to us. He'll be the first guy to stand up in front of his teammates and challenge them."

Mussman said both quarterbacks will see the field Thursday night against Drake.

"Those two guys bring us two different things," Mussman said. "The ball gets out of Joey's hands a little quicker, but Brent's running gives us a whole other dimension. We've used him in option looks in the past.

"But Brent can still throw the football. He's very capable. If something were to happen, I'm very confident in Brent's ability to run our offense."

Mussman lauded the competition between Goska and Bradley.

"The competition has made us better," Mussman said. "I think Goska is a better quarterback today than he was at the end of last season. I just feel going into Drake, we need Joey on the field."

Mussman said the Sioux have used Goska in a tight end role in practices. However, the coach also said he can't afford to risk the health of his No. 2 quarterback too often.

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"He's even volunteered to play outside linebacker or run down kicks," Mussman joked. "We've given Brent a look at tight end. He knows the routes and knows where he needs to be. Brent will play for us."

Miller writes for the Grand Forks Herald

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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