“Mike (Bercovici) will be the (backup) quarterback going into this game, Taylor (Kelly) will be the third guy but that could change,” said Erickson following Sunday’s practice. It’s not like anybody has jumped ahead of anybody, I feel good about both of them. They both got turns today but Mike will get the 2’s more than Taylor. That will be something that we’ll analyze every week.”
“That’s new news to me but that’s awesome,” Bercovici admitted. “I feel like I worked my tail off, that’s the reason I came here in the spring so I’m really happy with that decision. Me and Taylor (Kelly) are really good friends, we’ve been competing this entire time and I feel like I had a few meetings with Coach about keeping my consistency and accuracy to keep the job.
“Like I said to coach (Erickson), my mindset as backup quarterback is that if anything happens to the starter, I don’t want any setbacks to the offense, I want to be as prepared as the starter so that really awesome to hear, really good news.”
Mike Bercovici joined the maroon and gold for spring ball and hit the ground running in the race to be named the backup quarterback. Since his arrival the signal caller has been neck and neck with redshirt freshman Taylor Kelly each day at practice while Erickson awaited one to step up and claim the number two spot.
“As a quarterback group we grew so much that we can sit on the sidelines with the play being called and all three quarterbacks know where the ball is supposed to be going,” Bercovici said. “We all developed, from spring to fall camp, we are all different people. We’re in tune with what the coaches expect.
“It was a tight competition because everyday I had to come out here and show my poise as a leader and compete passes; make sure my feet were correct. I had to focus on every rep and not take any plays off so I’m just really excited for the opportunity.”
Although Erickson has expressed his disappointment at times with the backup competition, waiting for one of his signal callers to stand out and earn the second team reps, Bercovici has been pleased with his performance the last few weeks.
“I think I had a really good fall camp,” Bercovici commented. “I felt like more of a leader being able to be louder and more confident in the offense. I feel like towards the end of fall camp I started clicking as far as what our coaches expect. I didn’t have to look to the sidelines to see if I made a mistake, I already knew. I put the pressure on myself to make sure I know what the coaches expect of me. I pinch myself sometimes because this is just the start.
“This is my freshman year and I feel like I have so much room to grow and the coaches make sure they put that on me. I make a couple good throws but then I will make a simple error that brings me back down to make sure I know they’re putting a lot of pressure on me. I feel like I had a really good fall camp, so it is really good to hear that I won the competition.”
Confident that that maroon and gold will be able to utilize their backup during Thursday competition against UC Davis it will possibly be the first time Bercovici will take a snap in a collegiate game. Many would assume this could create some anxiety for the rookie, but Bercovici has a different take on the anxiety he may feel.
“I wouldn’t call it nerves,” Bercovici explained. “It’s more of the pressure of the team. Everyone knows that #17 (Brock Osweiler) is our quarterback, he’s been our leader ever since I’ve been here, ever since spring started so it just the pressure that if us as backups aren’t getting better and showing that we can move the ball on offense, it’s the pressure from the sidelines and the team. Even as a backup, I feel like every situation is a game situation.
“I know I’ve always felt nervous even since Pop Warner, because if you don’t have nerves you don’t have anything to look forward to so it definitely is more excitement. What we see on film of our opponent on Thursday, it’s just exciting to play against a different helmet color, a different jersey and we want to show what we can do and prove to everybody that our offense is going to be that legitimate this year and ultimately our team. I feel like our offense is going to take our team places that we haven’t been in awhile.”