Andrew Anastasio – Sports Writer –
“I was excited to be named the starter this year,” said Jablonski. “It’s tough going from high school where you’re the man and then you go over to a college program and you kind of got to earn your stripes. I was definitely thrilled, and I definitely felt that I deserved the job so I’ve just been more excited than anything.”
Coming to Southern in 2010, Jablonski played in 10 games; however, only four of them were at the quarterback position where he completed one pass on two attempts. He said he came to Southern because of what the program had to offer.
“Honestly, I chose Southern Connecticut because I thought it fit,” said Jablonski. “It fit me well, and I felt that I fit in well with the program. As far as the football program, I kind of bought into what the coaches wanted to sell. As far as tradition and the long line of athletes who have gone to the university and done well after. I just thought it was a perfect fit for me.”
Going into the preseason, the Owls roster consisted of four potential quarterback candidates, Jablonski, red-shirted freshman Bobby Lippincott, freshman Mike Luks, and freshman Michael Eckrote. Head coach Rich Cavanaugh said he chose Jablonski because of his skill-set and the impression he’s made since putting on an Owls uniform.
“We’ve been very high on Jablonski since he got here as a freshman,” said Cavanaugh. “He impressed me right away as a guy who is a competitor. He’s got great skills. He can throw the ball, he can run, and he can read coverages. We knew after Kevin Lynch graduated that there was only one guy who was going to step in, and that was Jablonski. He’s been groomed to be the man since he got here.”
Last year, the Owls graduated its previous starting quarterback Kevin Lynch, who threw for 2,222 yards and 15 touchdowns. Jablonski said watching Lynch has helped him prepare for the starting role.
“I learned a lot from Kevin, and this goes for any quarterback in any program. You always learn from the guy ahead of you,” said Jablonski. “I learned a tremendous amount from Kevin. Sitting behind him, listening to him talk, and going through meetings. He was a good mentor because he understood the game. He had been in the program for two years so there wasn’t any instance where I couldn’t trust him. We had a great relationship, and I learned a lot from him being ahead of me.”
Senior All-American offensive tackle William Chaffin said when Jablonski was named the starter, it wasn’t much of a surprise.
“It really wasn’t a shock,” said Chaffin. “He’s pretty much been the quarterback in waiting since Kevin Lynch was there. I just always knew he was going to be the starter.”
The Owls quarterback will face his first competition of the season against Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Regardless of this being the first season Jablonski is starting, Cavanaugh said he’s confident that his skills can lead the team into the postseason; however, it’s going to take more than one person to accomplish that goal.
“In order for us to make the postseason, there’s a lot of people that are going to have to perform at a high level in order for us to have a good season,” said Cavanaugh. “Jablonski is not someone I’m concerned with right now. I think we got the right guy there.”
Jablonski went 9-for-12 with 62 yards and a touchdown in his debut as QB1 for the Owls.