Finding a former quarterback or a current coach with knowledge of the position is not difficult when venturing through the UAB Football Operations Building.

Obviously, UAB head coach Trent Dilfer is a former NFL quarterback with years of experience coaching the position. Offensive coordinator Alex Mortensen was a college quarterback, as was quarterback coach Nick Coleman. Senior analyst Danny Mitchell has a history of playing and working with quarterbacks. Wide receiver coach Austin Appleby played quarterback at Purdue and Florida. Even defensive coordinator Sione Ta'ufo'ou is a former quarterback coach.

Then there's Rip Scherer, the senior advisor to the head coach, whose long lines of quarterbacks he's coached includes a guy named Trent Dilfer when he was with the Cleveland Browns.

"It's an unreal work environment," Coleman said. "We learn from each other. Every day I come to work, I'm excited. The things you learn and things you can get is basically like going to a clinic every day. It's crazy. You got guys who have lived it, who've sat in that pocket and done it. We joke all the time. You can go around the building and say what position did you play in college? 'Quarterback.' We got a whole building of them."

In that environment, the Blazers are trying to not only find a quarterback starter but build quality depth during the spring. Last year's backup Jacob Zeno and Louisiana Tech transfer Landry Lyddy appear to be the top two options as of now with returnee Damon Stewart and Harrison Barker, Ole Miss transfer Trace Campbell, who was a tight end with the Rebels, and junior college transfer Carter Putt also putting in work.

It's been a spring filled with learning for all of them.

"Been pleased with what we've seen," Coleman said. "They've done a really good job with the mental aspect that we put on them. We put a lot on their plate so far. With what they've done, leadership-wise, they've taken a big step, which is big in our room. The leaders in this program have to be in our room. They've done a really good job with that."

Coleman said the process begins before they step on the field for spring practice.

"You, obviously, have to stay ahead at the quarterback position," Coleman said. "You can't show up the morning of practice and say, 'Hey Coach, what are we doing today?" You have to be in the mind of the offensive coordinator, be in the mind of the head coach and understand the plan we have for them."

Zeno's approach is what may have him at the top of the pack, as of now. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound junior from San Antonio played in nine games last season with two starts. He threw for 721 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for 94 yards and another score.

"Very mature, carries himself in a very NFL-like manner," Coleman said. "The way he comes across to you is how he comes across every day. It's not fake. He's a very mature kid. He's probably going to cure cancer one day off the field. The way he carries himself to me is what can really take him far in life. Not only in football but in life. If he carries himself in life like he does football, he's going to do big things, on and off the field."

Lyddy, a 6-foot, 205-pound sophomore, played in seven games at Louisiana Tech last season. He threw for 767 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions and also rushed for a touchdown. He transferred to UAB in January.

"Landry is a very intriguing guy and also a very intriguing athlete," Coleman said. "He throws the ball really, really well. He knows what he knows, and he's learning our offense from probably a little bit different aspect than what he came through before. His football knowledge probably wasn't as high as some of the other guys when he came in, but he's worked really hard. Now, he's caught up to them from a football knowledge standpoint. He can throw a football. That's one thing he can do. He's a good leader, and the guys love him."

Dilfer and UAB's offensive coaching staff don't appear to be in a hurry to name a starter. Someone could gain separation after the team's scrimmage on Saturday or perhaps once spring practice concludes. It could also happen at some point during fall camp.

"At any point in time, if you were ever to name a starter, that's for today," Coleman said. "It's kind of the chip-on-your-shoulder mentality. We're going to make sure, no matter what, that everybody understands that somebody is on your heels when it comes down to who's this and who's that."

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