It's a role Drew Dudzik had filled for his first two seasons at James Madison, running with the second team offense each day in practice.
But it's also a role Dudzik, who served as Rodney Landers' backup the past two years, had hoped he was done with.
Dudzik, a junior, entered this season competing with redshirt freshman Justin Thorpe for JMU's starting quarterback position. Through the Dukes' first four games, coach Mickey Matthews avoided naming a starter, and the two players rotated series.
Then, on Tuesday, Matthews announced Thorpe would start this weekend, and get most of the snaps, when the Dukes host No. 1 Richmond.
"It's been hard," Dudzik admitted Thursday. "I just want to go out there and play. But I'm going to keep working hard and get ready for when my number's called."
"Drew is a great kid," said Matthews. "He wants to play very badly, and he knows he didn't play very good at Hofstra."
Dudzik was 5-11 for 19 yards and an interception in the Dukes' 24-17 upset loss to the Pride last weekend. Thorpe went 3-3 for 37 yards, and also ran for 96 yards and a score.
For the season, Dudzik is 25-44 for 404 passing yards, including five touchdowns and two interceptions. Thorpe has thrown for 189 yards and one score on 13-19 passing, with one pick.
Thorpe is the team's leading rusher through four games, with 225 yards and two scores. Dudzik has run for 155 yards and one touchdown, a memorable 70-yard keeper in JMU's overtime loss at Maryland last month.
Matthews says Dudzik will play Saturday against the Spiders, but the team isn't planning to rotate quarterbacks by series as they have to this point.
"We didn't promise anything to either one of them," Matthews explained. "We're going to play Justin the first two or three series, and kind of see where we are."
"I'm just going into it like every other game," said Dudzik. "I've prepared like I'm a starter, and whatever happens, happens. I've just got to make the best of my opportunity."
"I've always done things by gut feel. We take a lot of things into consideration," Matthews said. "But I've stood on a lot of sidelines. And I'll do whatever I could to win the game, and get the right people in the game."