(STATS) - Starting quarterback is such a revered position with Eastern Illinois, with past greats including Sean Payton, Tony Romo and Jimmy Garoppolo.
Following Jalen Whitlow's graduation, the Panthers expect to have either 2015 backup Austin Green or Florida International transfer Bud Martin under center during the upcoming season.
Both saw plenty of action in EIU's annual spring game Saturday in Charleston, Illinois, where the defense beat the offense 26-20 in a modified scoring system which rewarded different plays.
Green completed 11 of 20 passes for 110 yards with one touchdown, a 5-yarder to Addison Bounds, and one interception. Martin was 10 of 16 for 96 yards.
Whoever wins the No. 1 job will want to rely on running back Korliss Marshall. He finished with 125 yards from scrimmage.
The defense recorded 10 sacks, which were awarded when a player reached the quarterback to apply contact. Jarvis Williams had three of the sacks.
Eastern Illinois posted a 7-5 record last year, reaching the FCS playoffs after finishing second in the Ohio Valley Conference.
While determining the new quarterback is a glaring storyline, the Panthers return nine offensive starters, including top running back Devin Church and one of the more experienced offensive lines in the conference, so how they retool their defense is just as important.
Michael Hodges and DeMarcus Covington are sharing defensive coordinator duties, and their defense returns only four starters. Fortunately for the Panthers, last year's leading tacklers linebacker Seth McDonald and safety Bradley Dewberry are two of them.
Eastern Illinois will kick off its 2016 season by hosting Western Illinois on Sept. 1.