NORMAL — Illinois State offensive coordinator Luke Huard called plays with his fingers crossed last season.
While comfortable with starter Matt Brown, second-string quarterback Cameron Meredith was a walk-on who had never taken a college snap.
And the Redbirds hoped to avoid using their third choice, Justin Lane, during a redshirt season.
The new season finds Meredith and Lane more familiar with the offense, and Wyoming transfer Adam Pittser gives ISU a third option as the No. 2 man for Brown’s senior year.
“I feel really good about where we’re at. To have three capable people behind Matt is exciting for me to see,” Huard said. “We have three guys on an even playing field. One will have to separate themselves this spring.”
The 6-foot-3 Meredith has the most experience in the offense. He completed three of five passes in mop-up duty last season. He also is likely the most mobile of ISU’s four signal-callers.
“Cam needs to work on his balance and feet in the pocket,” Huard said. “He’s going to have to continue to improve and take some steps this spring.”
Lane is a 6-footer who has “very good arm strength,” according to Huard. “He needs to continue to work on his athleticism.”
The 6-2 Pittser was heavily recruited by ISU out of Richmond-Burton High School. After sitting out his only year at Wyoming, Pittser has four years of eligibility with the Redbirds.
“Adam has a strong, accurate arm,” said Huard. “He’s similar to Matt in he’s not going to rush for 110 yards in a game, but they both have really good feet in the pocket. They can move around and extend the play enough to find second, third, fourth receivers.”
ISU will have a fifth quarterback join the competition in August. Lincoln-Way East’s Blake Winkler signed with the Redbirds in February.
“We don’t have a (No. 2) guy in mind right now,” ISU head coach Brock Spack said. “We will find out who that guy is going to be.”
Brown is entering his fourth season as the Redbird starter and is on pace to set numerous ISU career passing records.
Season tickets: Football season tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday at goredbirds.com.
Season tickets are $116 for the general public, $93 for faculty and staff and $50 for those 12 and under.
Hancock Stadium is expected to have a seating capacity of approximately 7,200 for the coming season during ongoing stadium renovation.