By Thomas Baldwin
Conventional wisdom says one attends college not just for academic knowledge, but life lessons as well.
What you learn outside academic curriculum is as paramount — maybe more — than a degree.
Alex Zordich has had a tumultuous road as a quarterback for the University at Buffalo the past three years. The Cardinal Mooney product has experienced some highs and lows in his time here.
He has one final season remaining at UB, in which the first phase of ended on Saturday in the Bulls’ annual Blue White spring game.
“It was crazy weather, but I thought everybody did well,” said the 6-foot-3, 222-pound senior after the scrimmage, which was played in wintry conditions. “I felt good out there. We were able to fly around a bit.”
Zordich completed 13 of 18 passes for 81 yards and no interceptions in tremendously windy conditions. He also rushed twice for 13 yards.
But just minutes before he entered the interview room after the scrimmage, UB head coach Jeff Quinn said Joe Licata is the No. 1 quarterback — for now. However, when training camp begins on Aug. 4, what Quinn said today becomes meaningless.
On that day, it becomes a whole new ballgame.
“It is open competition at all times,” Quinn said of the battle to see who will be the starter. “We just don’t hand the starting position to a guy. You have to keep working, and earn it, and prove it, every single day.”
Despite being described as a second stringer for now, Zordich hopes the momentum he built up during spring practice will carry over to training camp.
“I felt I had a great spring with minimal mistakes,” he said. “But there is always stuff to work on. There are some mistakes I can fix, and carry on over to the summer and keep working on things, and bring to the team the things I can bring, and in the fall be ready to play.
“It is really neverending. You just have to keep on working and fine tune the things I know I need to fix. I am looking forward to camp starting and getting it going.”
Zordich was named UB’s starter late last summer after a spirited battle with Licata. However, the Bulls’ offense sputtered and Zordich, who injured his ribs again, was replaced by Licata after eight games and was a bystander for the last four.
Not the way he wanted to end the season, for sure.
For the record, he completed 106 of 208 passes for 1,254 yards, nine touchdowns and seven interceptions while rushing for 550 yards on 100 carries.
But long before that, turbulence was present. During his freshman season in 2010, Zordich started four times and averaged 30 yards per rush before suffering a season-ending injury.
The next season, Quinn brought in one of his former players from Cincinnati in Jerry Davis, and Zordich, a sophomore, did not see much action.
So Zordich, whose brother Michael played at Penn State and father Michael played for the Philadelphia Eagles, knows what it is like to earn a starting job. He also feels the pain of what it is like to lose it to injury — twice.
He may not have seen it all — as the old adage goes — but he has certainly seen a lot. And his football life has shaped his overall existence.
“You learn a great amount about life just playing the game of football, talking highs and lows,” he said. “I can thank football for shaping me into the person I am, just being able to handle certain situations, certain adversity, and you can shrug things off like its nothing, and that’s what I am able to do. I really have a great mindset right now, and am just ready to play, ready to win some games.
“As far as football goes, I am very thankful. It has taught me about life.”