DURHAM, N.H. -- Kevin Decker sat and waited patiently in his first three years of football at the University of New Hampshire. The Armonk resident and record-setting quarterback at the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn. found himself in an unfamiliar position, watching another person play his position. However, Decker prepared himself in practice every day and knew that his day to run the offense would come. Once the opportunity presented itself in spring practice, the red-shirt senior seized it. Decker operates the high-flying offense, which is averaging 275 yards through the air and 425 yards total. The Wildcats are currently 3-1, averaging 38.5 points per game. In last weeks 39-32 win over Holy Cross, Decker threw for a season-high 352 yards and four touchdowns, including one to Fox Lane alumnus Mickey Mangieri. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Decker has completed 89 of 125 passes - a 71.2 percentage - for 1,083 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has also scored five touchdowns and rushed for 157 yards, which is second on the team.
The first three years was a great learning experience for me, but also very tough at the same time, said Decker, a communications major. After starting at Brunswick for four years, I got used to playing every snap. Then coming to New Hampshire, red shirting, then being told they think someone gives the team a better chance to win for three years is a bitter pill to swallow. At the same time though, I was fortunate enough to watch two great quarterbacks and learn a lot from them in four years. Even though Decker would have to acclimate himself to watching from the sidelines, he approached practice with determination. This led to Decker staying sharp and ready to enter a game.
I prepared every day throughout my first four years as if I was the starter because you never know when your number would be called, which happened a few times, Decker said. I viewed myself as a starter and pushed R.J. for that spot each week. I also viewed the practices leading up to Saturday as my games. Even though I was a backup, I was still learning a lot about the game I love, and that kept my head in the game. Deckers performance this year gives the impression that he has been starting for years, as opposed to one. The offense, which appealed to Decker immediately, while being recruited, fit the mobile and strong-armed quarterback.
The coaching staff has done a great job recruiting quarterbacks who have an ability to throw the football, Decker said. There is a lot put on the quarterback in the shot-gun, spread attack we run here and you have to have a confident quarterback who runs to throw the ball around a lot. It is an exciting feeling knowing that your level of play that Saturday, good or bad, will determine how the game is going to go for your team. The season has been going well for New Hampshire because of Decker. The Wildcats, who host Villanova Saturday, are currently second in the Colonial Athletic Association. New Hampshire will close out the regular season with three difficult games -- James Madison on Nov. 5, at Towson Nov. 12 and Maine Nov. 19.
Our goal is to simply focus on each game and if all goes to plan the first step is to make the playoffs, win the conference, and the ultimate goal is to win the National Championship, Decker said.
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