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Eastern Washington Football

Former Ferris star switches roles at Eastern Washington

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With Jeff Minnerly moving from quarterback to safety, the Eagles still have five players vying to be the starting quarterback. (Photo: EWU) With Jeff Minnerly moving from quarterback to safety, the Eagles still have five players vying to be the starting quarterback. (Photo: EWU)

CHENEY, Wash. - The list of players vying for the open quarterback spot at Eastern Washington just got a little shorter. Eagles head coach Beau Baldwin said former Ferris quarterback Jeff Minnerly will move from the offense to the defensive side of the ball.

Baldwin said Minnerly, who graduated from Ferris in 2008, would move from quarterback to safety, bringing the list of quarterbacks down to five. He said Minnerly would remain the team's holder on placekicks, and that the decision to move the sophomore to defense gives the Eagles "a greater chance to use his athletic ability".

Minnerly began practicing with the safeties on Tuesday and may see some snaps at the new position at Saturday's scrimmage in Cheney.

"We thought it would be the best thing for the team and Jeff to make the move, and we feel like he has all the tools to be an excellent safety," said Baldwin in a news release on Friday. "He still had a chance to compete for our quarterback position, but he has an even better opportunity to compete and earn playing time at the safety position."

After earning EWU's Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year as a redshirt freshman in 2008, Minnerly completed 4-of-8 passes for six yards while playing as a backup to All-American Matt Nichols.

"Jeff is a great competitor," Baldwin added. "He's demonstrated his great football skills during agility drills in the winter, as well as his ability as a quarterback to cover ground and move. He'll bring leadership and intelligence to the safety position, and that will be huge."

Moving Minnerly to defense leaves Baldwin with a shorter list from which to pick a starting quarterback. The leader of the pack appears to be Bo Levi Mitchell, a transfer from Southern Methodist who completed 6-of-9 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown in his scrimmage debut last week. He had a 29-year touchdown to Nicholas Edwards, and was also quarterback when Eastern scored a pair of touchdowns in red zone drill.

The other players vying for the starting position include juniors Nick Gauthier and Greg Panelli, freshman Anthony Vitto and sophomore Scott Burgett. Burgett did not play in last Saturday's scrimmage.

*The Eagles have a scrimmage planned for Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Woodward Field in Cheney.

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