MOORE — Every school has had to endure its share of quarterback battles. Whether it stems from graduation or poor play the season before from the starter, it’s a right of passage in high school football.
But very few of those competitions are as unique as what Southmoore has this year.
With Tre Edwards taking his talents to the University of Arkansas to play baseball, that left an opening for the SaberCats’ signal caller. However, instead of looking for one starting quarterback, Southmoore coach Jeff Brickman went looking for two to run the team’s multi-formation offense.
“We are going to have a bunch of different sets,” Brickman said. “In the past ,we’ve always been in the same personnel package. Usually, one tight end, one back personnel. This year we have a bunch of different interchangeable parts. We will be running a bunch of different personnel groupings, and high-tempo at the same time.”
The SaberCats will be employing the H-back this year. But instead of being just a pass-catching tight end, they have decided to make the position even more versatile.
“In the past it was a receiver,” Brickman said. “Now that position could be tight end or runningback. It could be a receiver or another quarterback. That H position is interchangeable with different personnel.”
With that, Brickman wants the ability to run in different quarterbacks for specifics formations and sets. So the SaberCats had two types of quarterback position battles during the offseason and preseason practice. So far, only one of them has been settled.
“Dunya Rice, he will be playing our athlete-quarterback type,” Brickman said. “It’s not really a wild cat. It’s our normal offense, he’s just at quarterback. It’s not like a special little thing where you can only do a couple of things. The other three guys are battling for the traditional quarterback spot.”
The three players competing for the traditional quarterback are sophomore Reid Thompson, senior Jace Williams and freshman Conner Uselton. A decision will not come until after the preseason practice period.
“I really think we owe it to those guys to see what they can do in all the scrimmages,” Brickman said. “I told them it’s just going to be just straight film grade. Nothing else.”
All four quarterbacks got their chances to perform Saturday in an intrasquad under the lights at SMH. Rice had a tremendous night making plays with his feet, while both Uselton and Thompson were solid in the pocket.
Williams injured his ankle and had to be helped off the field. But Brickman didn’t believe it was a serious injury.
While Thompson, Williams and Uselton have to continue to fight for the starting spot, Rice doesn’t have to worry about that type of pressure anymore. He knows what is expected of him when he’s under center.
However, quarterback will not be the only position where Rice will see time.
“The biggest concern I have is Dunya, he’s only a sophomore,” Brickman said. “But he’s a phenomenal athlete. Right now what we are asking him to do is play our H-back, quarterback and safety. We only have four guys going two ways and he’s one of them as a sophomore. That is how good he is.”