Former Raiders QB Phillips shows consistency in FAMU scrimmage
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Two weeks into pre-season football practice the FAMU defensive unit is doing what’s become the norm – harassing quarterbacks and busting up plays.
So that left back-up quarterback Vincent Jefferies as the only major surprise for the way he battled starter Ryan Stanley during the Rattlers’ first scrimmage this past Saturday. Left-handed freshman D.J. Phillips couldn’t be overlooked either.
Phillips, who played last season at Rickards High School, made quite an impression on coach Alex Wood. That despite having moments when he demonstrated freshman tendencies.
“He is what we thought; a very athletic guy,” Wood said. “He spins that ball from a left hand (and) he is very elusive and explosive.”
Phillips, who led the Raiders deep into the state playoff last season, showed patience with a methodical approach. Wood attributed that to Phillips coming from a winning program.
“Winning builds confidence in any position, but especially the quarterback,” Wood said. “I thought he showed a good composure and didn’t get rattled.”
But the day belonged to Jefferies and Stanley. They got most of the snaps with the first team, alternating moments of brilliance.
Wood thought they could have been more consistent, but the competition between them for the starting job was clear.
Stanley, who got the starting position midway through last season, said he welcome the challenge from Jefferies.
“If you are with a guy that’s not very good behind you you’ll get very complacent,” Stanley said. “With a good quarterback behind me, it pushes me to get better.”
Admittedly, both quarterbacks said they could have performed much better.
“We tried to push the tempo but we have to let the offensive line make their calls,” Jefferies said. “We were shaky at first but once we get into our grove I think we’ll be fine.”
But not on Saturday. Both quarterbacks just had to settle for giving the defense credit for disrupting the offense the way they did.
“We just have to go watch film to see the things we did wrong,” Stanley said.
Wood added: “I was encouraged by the physicality, the energy, running to the football and finishing plays.”