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In the FCS Huddle: QB openings not for the faint of heart

You don't have to be Tim Tebow to be the most scrutinized quarterback around.

The light in the microscope usually shines brightest on any team's signal- caller.

Considering big expectations follow the sport's marquee position, it only intensifies for the quarterback who is replacing a highly accomplished senior.

Such situations will be prevalent this coming season across the Football Championship Subdivision.

There are some big shoes to fill nationally.

Whoever steps in for Bo Levi Mitchell at Eastern Washington faces one of the more daunting tasks. Mitchell, of course, was the Most Outstanding Player in the Eagles' 2010 FCS championship game win and captured the 2011 Walter Payton Award (sponsored by Fathead.com) as the nation's outstanding player.

His successor, who is trying to replace Mitchell's 7,505 passing yards and 70 touchdown passes of the last two seasons, could be either junior Anthony Vitto or redshirt freshman Vernon Adams.

Vitto has more experience in offensive coordinator Aaron Best's system and holds the top spot going into spring practice in late March, but Adams is more mobile - he passed for 5,234 yards and rushed for another 1,263 yards in his final two high school seasons - and was the scout team's offensive player of the year this past season.

The situation could change if Kyle Padron, who unseated Mitchell as SMU's starting quarterback in 2009, comes to EWU. The big Texan (6-foot-4, 233 pounds) is seeking to transfer from SMU and is expected to visit with the Eagles' program.

Lehigh's Chris Lum tied for second behind Mitchell in the Payton Award voting and his replacement is much more set with senior Mike Colvin. He has good size - 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds - with excellent arm strength. He already has played in 22 career games, often as a change of pace run/pass-option quarterback.

Colvin has rushed for seven touchdowns in his career, although he struggled in his only career start, replacing an injured Lum in a game at New Hampshire two years ago.

Northern Iowa's Jared Lanpher played well against Youngstown State last season - throwing for 238 yards and two touchdowns - when he started in place of an injured Tirrell Rennie. The redshirt sophomore saw action in four other games and could have the inside track to replacing Rennie this coming season, although redshirt freshman Sawyer Kollmorgan has also impressed coaches since he arrived on campus.

At Chattanooga, quarterback B.J. Coleman hopes to be NFL-bound, but he missed a lot of time as a senior because of a shoulder injury. It opened the door for Terrell Robinson to replace him and win Southern Conference Freshman of the Week honors three times last season. He's a run-first quarterback, having rushed for 417 yards and thrown for only 336 yards.

Robinson will have competition from redshirt freshman Jacob Huesman, son of Mocs head coach Russ Huesman. His playing style is similar to Robinson's.

New Liberty head coach Turner Gill has to replace do-everything quarterback Mike Brown. The most experienced of the Flames' returnees is redshirt senior Tyler Brennan, who has appeared in 22 career games - often in mop-up time - but was injured during the second half of last season. He's more of a drop- back passer than the dual-threat Brown.

Redshirt junior Brian Hudson is also a pocket passer and has the strongest arm among the signal-callers. Still another of Brown's possible successors, redshirt sophomore Gabe Henderson, follows the Brown script in that he was a wide receiver in 2010 - catching 10 passes - before transitioning to a quarterback last year, when he was a redshirt.

Josh Woodrum, coming off his redshirt freshman season, has the high school accolades, though not the experience of his Liberty teammates.

Jackson State signed one the FCS' top incoming freshmen last week in Lamontiez Ivy out of East St. Louis. He will get a shot at replacing Casey Therriault, although 6-5 redshirt senior Dedric McDonald has been the backup for two years and redshirt sophomore Tevin Chapman is a good runner who is also experienced in the system.

Jacksonville has to replace Josh McGregor, who ended his career 23rd on the all-time FCS list with 11,230 passing yards and sixth in touchdown passes with 111. Trevius Folston and Kade Bell are returning, but a signee or two will join them at the Pioneer Football League power.

The 6-7 Folston backed up McGregor as a freshman last season, while Bell, the son of Jacksonville head coach Kerwin Bell, redshirted in his first season.

Plenty of other FCS programs are looking for a new starting quarterback after losing a key senior. Included are New Hampshire (Kevin Decker), Central Arkansas (Nathan Dick), Norfolk State (Chris Walley), Georgia Southern (Jaybo Shaw), Richmond (Aaron Corp) and Wofford (Mitch Allen).

Also, there's Holy Cross (Ryan Taggart), Samford (Dustin Taliaferro), Furman (Chris Forcier), Indiana State (Ronnie Fouch), Maine (Warren Smith), Portland State (Connor Kavanaugh), Southeast Missouri State (Matt Scheible), South Dakota (Dante Warren), Brown (Kyle Newhall-Caballero), Yale (Patrick Witt) and Butler (Andrew Huck).