CEDAR RAPIDS — Most kids pick their school at the Division III level based on academic fit. But when you’re playing a sport, you still want to play.
That’s made Jared McNutt’s football career at Coe College tough to take for him at times.
The senior quarterback spent three years backing up record-setter Brad Boyle. He’s finally getting his chance this season and making up for lost time.
“It was tough staying positive,” McNutt admitted. “But you always had to realize you were the next man in over the course of those three years. I mean, I started the second round of the playoffs my freshman year. So knowing that you were one play from getting in there was exciting but also very frustrating at the same time.”
The Warren, Ill., native was thrown into the fire as a freshman, starting Coe’s NCAA playoff second-round game at St. Thomas (Minn.) because of a Boyle injury. But that was the last time he would get truly significant minutes until being named the Kohawks’ starter this season.
McNutt leads the Iowa Conference in passing efficiency, completing 69 percent of his throws for 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns. He had a string of 22 straight completions over three games, including a 17-for-17 effort two weeks ago against Buena Vista.
Coe, 5-0 and ranked 22nd nationally, plays at Dubuque on Saturday afternoon.
“He’s doing a fantastic job right now,” said Coe offensive coordinator Tyler Staker. “When we recruited him, we knew he was a really good quarterback. He was just behind Brad, who was tearing it up in the conference at that time. He’s paid his dues. He’s an excellent leader on this team, works extremely hard in the film room and reading his progressions. He has just done a good job of taking what the defense has given him. Hasn’t really forced the ball, has felt comfortable in the pocket, and I think that’s one of the big reasons for his success.”
McNutt is a different kind of quarterback than Boyle, though that’s not difficult since Boyle was known for a non-traditional playing style that included a lot of improvisation running and throwing.
“I think I’m more of a pocket passer than Brad,” McNutt said. “We ran the ball a little more with Brad. I feel I can take off every now and then, but I’m more of a precision passer … Over the course of my career, the coaches would tell me ‘You’re not Brad, you’re not going to be Brad.’ Because Brad was Brad. He was going to do what he did, kind of high risk, high reward. I’ve stayed true to who I am instead of trying to follow in his footsteps.”
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