Backup to Big Time: QB Birse Steps into Starting Role

USA Quarterback, Cameron Birse

It’s been a whirlwind offseason for San Ramon Valley (CA) QB Cameron Birse. When I talked to him, he was in Austin playing with Team USA in the IFAF U-19 World Championship. He arrived on late notice just hours before the team’s first game against American Samoa on June 30.

He was held out of that game, given a complicated offensive playbook and forced to contend with condensed practice time. The 6’3 pro style QB emerged four days later against Austria and threw two touchdown passes as Team USA cruised to a 70-7 victory.

Prior to arriving in Texas, Birse visited Yale and is now considering trips to Cornell and Penn later this month. As he told me, “Ivy League schools offer so much in the way of education. I’m a football player but I also want to be ready for the future, and these schools provide such great opportunity.”

Out West, he performed well at camps held by the University of Utah and San Diego State. With college interest picking up, Birse still remains focused on football. “I’ll let the recruiting process take care of itself, but I don’t want to let it interfere with what we are trying to accomplish here as a team.”

And he is certainly familiar with the team concept at San Ramon Valley.

After impressive seasons with the freshmen and JV teams, Birse spent his junior year as a backup to Cal commit Zach Kline and accepted the cut in playing time. When I asked about that change, he told me, “Maybe I could have started at another school without ever being a backup, but I think it was good to experience it at this stage. Everyone has to be a backup at some point, and I was playing behind a great quarterback.”

Regarding Kline, he continued by saying, “It was great to learn behind him and see how he conducted himself as a leader, what he did on Friday and Saturday nights, how he carried himself in the halls. And on the field, I got to stand with (offensive coordinator) coach Becker and really get a sense of the game from that perspective.”

But like any competitor in the sport, he enjoys the physicality of game time and will be dealing with plenty of hits in 2012. The Wolves play in the very tough East Bay Athletic League, which contains the powerhouse De La Salle Spartans among other strong teams.

And before league play even begins, Birse will lead SRV against three tough opponents that combined for a 33-5 record in 2011: Buhach Colony, Folsom and Logan. As Birse puts it, “These are teams we have to respect, but we’re also confident in our abilities as a team. If we can win these games, we’ll definitely help our playoff seeding later on.”

As for receiving targets, Birse pointed out that WR Matt Turner will be the team’s go-to option this season, a player that can be effective on any route. He’ll also be looking at speed demon Justin Bangay and TE Ryan Dunn, who specializes on defense as a linebacker.

Expect fireworks in the East Bay this season as Birse takes over a pass-friendly offense that is sure to make his player stock rise.