Editor's note: As we get closer to football season, I'm going to do an occasional series on individual players who I will be especially interested to see them play this year. Whether it's someone new to the lineup, or someone's impact on other positions on the team, or someone who needs to take advantage of an opportunity, I'll be looking for all of the players in this series to show me something.
Right off the bat, I'm crossing things up a little bit and going with a player who will indirectly show me something. There are a lot of things that will be interesting to follow as this football season unfolds, but one that I'm really looking forward to is how Evan Landi ends up being used. Landi is listed as the backup quarterback, but as long as B.J. Daniels is healthy, Landi is going to continue playing wide receiver. I'm just not sure how often we'll see him.
Last year, Landi didn't get much playing time, for obvious reasons. After Matt Grothe went down, Landi became the backup quarterback, and with plenty of wide receivers available, there was no need to put Landi out there and risk injury. Although he appeared in all 13 games, he only had a total of 11 touches and five passes attempted.
This year is a different story, with both positions incredibly thin at the moment. Landi is the only other scholarship quarterback on the team until Jamius Gunsby arrives next month, and I suspect he will remain as the backup. Where Landi falls on the wide receiver depth chart when all the incoming freshmen and transfer(s?) are integrated is still up in the air, but on the post-spring depth chart he was listed behind Dontavia Bogan at the X receiver. A.J. Love's torn ACL already moved Landi up a rung, and with Sterling Griffin's injury, Landi may have even been forced into the starting Z receiver role until Griffin comes back. (I still have a hard time believing that Lindsey Lamar would be allowed to play an outside receiver position, even though he was listed as Griffin's backup.)
There are very few examples of college players who were active at both quarterback and another position. The only one I can even think of is Kansas's Kerry Meier, who was in the same situation as Landi. After starting at quarterback for most of the 2006 season, he backed up Todd Reesing and moved to wide receiver from 2007-09. In his last two years, Meier had 199 catches for 2030 yards and 16 touchdowns, and rarely played under center. Unfortunately we'll never know whether he would have moved back to quarterback in a pinch because Reesing stayed healthy, but this was a case where the Jayhawks coaches clearly had no problems leaving their backup on the field at another position.
Something like that could happen with the Bulls this fall, and I think Landi's playing time at wide receiver might be an indicator of two things. It could prove how much Skip Holtz trusts B.J. Daniels to stay healthy - I don't think he's too worried about Daniels' ability to handle the offense, but I'm sure he won't want Daniels taking off running all the time and exposing himself to injury. It could also tell us how far along Jamius Gunsby gets once he arrives for fall practice. (If Gunsby doesn't redshirt, then that's a huge tell.) The more Landi plays receiver, the better I think we should feel about the quarterback position overall.