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Vincent Testaverde steps into the spotlight

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“Almost every interview.”

That’s how often Vincent Testaverde, the new starting quarterback for the University at Albany football team, is asked about his famous dad.

Before a 21-year NFL career including six with the New York Jets, Vinny Testaverde played his college ball at Miami, where he was an All-American and Heisman Trophy winner in 1986.

He went on to become the Hurricanes’ all-time career touchdown passes leader at the time with 48.

Testaverde’s son also saw playing time in both his first two years before becoming the full-time starter as a redshirt junior.

Despite the recognizable last name, son Vincent’s college football career has gone a little different than Dad’s. At least for now.

Vincent has played in just one game going into his fifth and final year of eligibility.

In 2014 during his freshman year at Texas Tech, Testaverde relieved the injured starter Patrick Mahomes, who is now starring for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Testaverde’s final stat line in the 34-13 loss to Texas — 15-for-26 for 116 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.

“Everything has come easier now. I’m hoping I have a better showing than when I was a freshman but only time will tell,” he said.

Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field (the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers), the younger Testaverde, wearing the same No. 14 his dad sported for over two decades, led the Danes’ offense from the start.

Dad faced off 12 times against Bill Cowher’s Steelers, including five at Heinz Field – all ending in losses.

The fifth-year senior isn’t worried about that or any of the other naysayers not giving the Danes a chance versus a Power Five opponent in their season opener.

“It doesn’t matter the team. We’re going to study them, prepare for them, game plan for them and come Saturday execute the plays,” he said.

Testaverde is a big believer in patience. He’s done nothing but wait over his football career.

After making the switch from basketball to football his junior year of high school, he sat on the bench as the backup quarterback the whole season.

He started his senior year and walked on at Texas Tech, where he saw that only game action.

The adjustment both on and off the field for the Florida native was tough, which led to him transferring to his dad’s alma mater of Miami — where he waited for his opportunity. Two and a half years to be exact.

During his junior season last year with his eligibility ticking away, he decided to make another move and bet on himself – from The U to UAlbany as a mid-season transfer.

“I finally said I don’t think I’m going to get my shot. Gotta go on to bigger and better things.”

And again, he waited. Transfer rules required him to sit out the entire 2017 season.

So he stayed busy by running the scout team offense in practice while starting QB Will Brunson ran the first team.

Testaverde came to the Great Danes with a promise from head coach Greg Gattuso he’d at least have a chance to compete for the starting job his senior season.

Last week, Gattuso made that decision official, in the most 2018 way possible – posting a video on the UAlbany Football Twitter page. The announcement could have come right from Vatican City: gold smoke for Burns, white for Brunson and purple for Testaverde.

And at 11:06 a.m. on Aug. 23 while sitting in front of his dark brown cabinet and chair, Gattuso announced his guy. The purple smoke came first.

“We felt this was the right decision to go with Vinny,” Gattuso said. “We think he’s going to do well.

“Patience is everything. While I was sitting out and waiting, I was preparing. I knew in the back of my mind this is it or it’s nothing,” Testaverde said.

He beat out Brunson, who ran the offense for all 11 games last season, as well as Nyc Burns, a redshirt sophomore.

With one year of eligibility left, Testaverde will finally get his chance.

“It’s gonna be awesome. I’m ready to go and be back in a big stadium, big crowd. Our team’s gonna love it,” Testaverde said.

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Rob "Lep" Lepelstat is the sports editor of the Albany Student Press. Along with the ASP, Lep works as Vice President of ATV and sports director for WCDB. During the summer of 2017, he interned at WABC-TV in New York City.

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