HELENA — A good, healthy quarterback competition can be exactly what the doctor ordered for a football team looking to spark its offense.
That’s where Carroll College finds itself right now.
Last year, redshirt freshman Reese Hiibel got his first college start by replacing injured starter Tanner Gustavsen. In seven games, Hiibel threw for 750 yards and six touchdowns. Now, with some experience under his belt, he feels ready to lead the team.
“I’m definitelty feeling a lot more confident in what I’m doing and what the people around me are doing,” said Hiibel.
But the job isn’t his just yet.
Idaho State transfer Rob Kvinsland is bringing Big Sky Conference experience to the Frontier team and has his sights set on starting.
“It’s going good,” Kvinsland said. “It’s been tough having to learn the new plays on the fly and the new terminology on the fly. But having guys like Reese and (offensive coordinator Nick) Howlett has been very helpful, so I’m coming along, I feel like.”
What both Kvinsland and Hiibel are not feeling, though, is the pressure to beat the other guy for the job.
The two hit it off almost instantly this offseason, which was a surprise to the former Bengal.
“We get along great. I wasn’t expecting to, but it’s cool to come in and have a guy as nice as Reese,” said Kvinsland. “We hang out a lot and have a good time together.”
“Rob came in, and him and I are pretty tight,” added Hiibel. “We hang out a lot. I don’t have any bitter feelings towards him, I don’t think he has any bitter feelings towards me.”
What they do have, though, is a good amount of respect for each other.
“He’s really, really strong-armed,” Kvinsland said of his QB counterpart. “I’ve never seen a quarterback with as strong an arm as he has. And he watches a lot of film. He’s smart.”
“I mean, he had to compete for everything he had at Idaho State, too, so he competes every day and it makes me compete harder,” said Hiibel. “Like I said earlier, that makes us both better.”