Florida International will go into the 2012 season with a new starting quarterback taking over for Wesley Carroll on a full-time basis, but coach Mario Cristobal has confidence in the likely man for that job, sophomore Jake Medlock.
Actually, Medlock got one start late in the season, directing a 41-7 victory over Florida Atlantic by completing 18 of his 24 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 47 yards on seven runs.
He started the next week against Louisiana-Monroe but hurt his shoulder in the first quarter after completing his only pass attempt and gaining nine yards on one run. He didn't play against Middle Tennessee in the regular-season finale and made only a brief appearance in the bowl game loss to Marshall.
But that exposure will help him in 2012, he said.
"I gained a lot of confidence," Medlock said. "I gained a lot of playing time experience.
"From the high school games to college is a lot different. The speed is fast, a lot faster than in practice. You've got to realize that once a receiver makes his cut you've got to go or otherwise you're either going to get him killed or get a turnover."
Medlock had only a so-so performance in FIU's spring game but remains No. 1 on the depth chart heading into the fall.
"Jake's got a big-league arm," Cristoball said. "He did well in his start last year against FAU. It's a shame he got hurt because he was continuing to develop.
"I think Wesley helped him a lot because he helped him in his developing, helped his football IQ. He can't get enough reps out here, but he has a big arm, a live arm."
Cristobal has equal confidence in potential backups, Loranzo Hammonds, a redshirt freshman, and E.J. Hilliard, a true freshman who enrolled early to take part in spring drills. Hammonds had a 69-yard run in the spring game called back by a holding penalty.
The coach said walk-ons Akil Dan-Fodio and Fred Porter have had their moments in the spring as well. Porter didn't gain a lot of experience throwing the ball in high school (Ruskin, Fla.), but could help "down the road," Cristobal said.
"So we're pretty excited about the guys we have on the roster right now," Cristobal said.
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