Spring game heats up competition for starting QB job at FAMU
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Coach Alex Wood tried his best to downplay the possibility of a real intense quarterback competition in the fall, following Saturday’s Orange and Green spring football game.
But anyone who witnessed the performance of backup Vincent Jefferies saw that he clearly outplayed starter Ryan Stanley at Bragg Stadium. The Orange team, led by Jefferies, made it look easy on the way to a 28-0 win against Stanley and the Green team.
Neither quarterback had much going until the second half when a running clock was in play. It might have been because the players drafted each team, meaning a mesh of starters and backups were involved in the 70 or so plays that Wood ran.
Jefferies engineered the only long drive of the first 30 minutes. Stanley didn’t find a receiver until the second half.
Perhaps that’s why Wood said unequivocally that the starting quarterback job is open, although he called Stanley his starter during his post-game meeting with the media.
“We’re not trying to create any quarterback controversy for sure,” Wood said. “But it’s good competition. They are still competing for the job and they know that. That’s not a secret.
“Whoever has got the best stats and leaderships skills will be the guy to pull the trigger in the fall.”
Stanley, seemingly a little disgusted by his showing, said he welcomes the competition from Jefferies. Or even, Tahj Tolbert, who showed flashes of being the quarter back of the future in the few snaps that he played.
“That makes me go harder,” Stanley said. “It’s anyone’s game. Whoever works harder does best.
“I know every day guys are coming to take my spot and coaches are recruiting guys to come take my spot. That’s a given in any position in college football. You just have to go out and give it your all day in, day out, every workout, every rep you get.”
There was no question that the Rattlers could have one of their most aggressive defenses this season, though. Defensive end Elijah Price had the best day in that department, with two sacks and a tackle for loss.
He felt he could have an even better day if the units weren’t mixed with second and third-string players.
“We held back on plays that we usually run,” he said, “but we played pretty good for assignment football.”
The game, FAMU’s first spring contest since 2015 due to NCAA sanctions, attracted an estimated 3,000. It was the first spring game for Wood since taking over the program.
“We are just really excited to be back in the business of spring football,” he said. “It was fun.
“It made for an interesting afternoon. It was competitive (with) great dynamics on the field. I think it will help our team come closer.”
NOTE: FAMU announced that its Sept. 16 game against Tennessee State will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.