No One Steps Up
The anticipated quarterback battle was supposed to have become clearer after today’s Spring Game, but it didn’t. The only real clear thing to come out of the quarterback race was Ryan Colburn is on his way to a redshirt year.
The sun was out and thousands of Bulldog fans filed into Bulldog Stadium to see the Valley’s team. Tom Brandstater got the most reps of all the quarterbacks, but Sean Norton and Colburn were given their fare share. Norton, in my opinion had the better game, but was not too overly impressive to jump ahead in the quarterback race.
Brandstater threw the deep ball well, but his short range throws was a bit off. He hit Paul Williams in stride on a beautiful long ball with Marcus McCauley defending, but also threw a goal line interception for the second consecutive week. Williams, as well, caught a tipped ball from Norton and took it to the house. Chastin West had a very impressive day catching and throwing the ball. The redshirt freshman wide receiver threw a 25 yard touchdown pass on a wide receiver reverse to Marlin Moore.
Dwayne Wright had a great 32 yard on his first carry, but did little else the rest of the scrimmage. Shannon Dorsey, Rich Owens and Andrew Jones shared the load at running back. Owens took a vicious hit from cornerback Elgin Simmons on a halfback screen, and Jones left the game after taking a lick from Dwayne Andrews. Dorsey had a great scrimmage, and showed he is capable of carrying the load if needed.
Damon Jenkins left the game with looked to be a leg or shoulder injury. It didn’t look to be too serious, but he was taken back to the locker room. Vince Mays continued to shine in the secondary. He had another interception in the red zone and made plays all over the field. Redshirt freshman cornerback Jay Reddick read Colburn and made an incredible interception for one of the few highlights for the rest of defensive backs.
Jon Monga had a monster game in the middle. He started along with Louis Leonard at defensive tackle ahead of Jason Shirley, and didn’t disappoint. Tyler Clutts was Tyler Clutts, relentless. He never lets up and doesn’t let his size disadvantage get in the way. Andrews led a brilliant performance by the linebacking corps. The offense ran up the gut most of the time, a strength of the defense, and there were very few runs to the outside besides wide receiver reverses.
Williams was stopped on his runs to the outside, but West was able to get to the corner with ease. Norton, running the option, was about to beat linebacker Trevor Shamblee, a former track star, to the corner but the play was whistled dead.
The halfback screen looks like it will be staple in this year’s offense and not just on third down. Dorsey looked good after the catch, often making defenders miss tackles with his quick moves. Roshon Vercher was rocked by Andrews in a vicious collision, but otherwise had a great game as the lead blocker. Redshirt freshman converted linebacker Reynard Camp scored the first touchdown of the game on a fullback dive.