This is the second in a four-story series profiling Idaho Vandals quarterbacks who are competing for the starting job. Read the first installment on Brian Nooy at IdahoStatesman.com.
Chris Joseph already is putting his University of Idaho education to good use.
Joseph, who is from Fresno, Calif., is one of four quarterbacks vying this spring to be the starter for the Vandals, and one of his weapons comes from the classroom.
The junior is taking a class that focuses on positive thinking, which is something he is using to try to beat out teammates Brian Nooy, Nathan Enderle and Luke Tracy for the job.
"I think about it a lot," Joseph said. " I just push myself, whether it's looking at my playbook a little longer or something else. ‘Why shouldn't it be me? It should be me.' That's what I'm thinking to myself.
"I'm taking a class on positive attitude and thinking, and that's what you need to get it done. Youhave to be confident that it's your job, or someone else is going to pass you."
Joseph arrived at Idaho in January 2004 as a grayshirt, then redshirted before seeing his first action last season as the third-stringer behind starter Steve Wichman and backup Nooy. He threw three passes — one completion, one incompletion and one interception.
Spring drills, which started Friday, are his first real chance to compete for playing time.
"I'm really excited about the competition, because competition brings out the best in everyone," Joseph said. "It's nice to have an open competition where all four of us get an equal share of reps. We're going to truly find out who can run the team."
Idaho quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith said Joseph has several things going for him.
"He has a strong arm and he can be very accurate," Smith said. "He's been around and has seen a lot of different defenses. He's a smart kid who works hard."
Joseph said he made the most of his first three seasons on campus even though he wasn't playing.
"I was waiting, but I also was learning," said Joseph, who is 6-foot-3, 214 pounds. "I got a lot accomplished in developing my mind football-wise. From high school to college, I didn't come in knowing a lot of football with defenses and stuff. I was getting things done and always working to get myself better."
He lost his edge when coach Dennis Erickson left the program last year and was replaced by Robb Akey and another new offense. Instead of being an expert on the offense, he finds himself on par with the other candidates.
"It does put us all on the same level and restarts everyone's thinking," Joseph said. "The hardest part is breaking your old habits. The play-calling is different, route combinations and numbers are different."
But Joseph likes what he sees in coordinator Steve Axman's new system.
"This offense that we're in this year puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback's shoulders, which I'm excited about because I want to run the show," he said.
Joseph also said this is the moment he's been waiting and preparing for since he arrived in Moscow.
"A lot of quarterbacks only start for two years," Joseph said. "I always thought about that in the back of my head. I was just preparing the last couple years and didn't take it too hard that I wasn't playing because I knew I had these last two years."
To offer story ideas or comments, contact reporter Nick Jezierny at firstname.lastname@example.org or 377-6420.