Behrendt more than making a passing grade at Centre

October 21, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

Brian Behrendt is just starting to get comfortable, a thought that might make opposing defenders very uncomfortable.

In his second season as Centre College's starting quarterback, there are things working in Behrendt's favor that make him more effective with each passing game.

The junior quarterback is more familiar with the offense, more confident in his ability and more respected by his teammates. And there may be even more good things to come.

"I don't think he's anywhere near maximizing his potential, but I think he's playing very, very, very well," offensive coordinator Rick Fox said.


"I feel more confident," Behrendt said. "I feel like I understand the offense better, and I feel a lot more secure in my reads. And I know the receivers a little better. We're all on the same page now."

The story has been good so far. The Colonels (6-1) have scored 30 points or more in five of their seven games, and they have rolled up 84 points and 941 yards in their last two games going into Saturday's Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference showdown at Trinity.

Behrendt has adjusted to subtle changes in the offense this season.

"We put in a different run scheme this year with more power-I. The more reps you get, the better you are," he said. "It's made our offense more versatile, and I'm starting to get a better feel for the plays that have been working."

Behrendt had never seen Centre play when he was recruited out of Reidland High School. He didn't quite know what he was in for.

"It was a shock when I got here," he said. "I didn't understand the talent of Division III. Of course you question yourself, but you just realize you have to improve."

Behrendt might not have known what he was getting into, but Fox said he knew what he was getting when he recruited him.

"I recruit western Kentucky, and every coach out there was telling me, 'You've got to look at the quarterback from Reidland,'" Fox said. "When I got home, I had a tape in my mailbox of the quarterback from Reidland."

Fox said Behrendt is one of Centre's most dedicated players in the weight room. He also said the quarterback is also something of a perfectionist, to the point where he gets angry with himself for throwing incomplete passes in 7-on-7 drills with no pass rush.

"He doesn't talk about goals like, 'I want to be an All-American,' but he has a high standard for himself," Fox said. "The only thing I have to do is keep him from being too hard on himself."

He has completed 62.3 percent of his passes

On the whole, the numbers have been impressive. Behrendt has completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 1,524 yards with 15 touchdowns and only five interceptions.

Behrendt's stats are a bit inflated - and he's the first to admit that - because of the success he and running back Lorenzo Engleman have had with one of Fox's favorite plays and one of Centre's best offensive weapons: the shovel pass.

Fox began experimenting with the play four years ago with Behrendt's predecessor, Drew Mildren, and he usually calls it three or four times a game. It's treated as run in the Colonels' play-calling plans, but it's technically a pass.

"It is a bit of a stat booster," Behrendt said.

Behrendt and Engleman connected three times on the play Saturday against Maryville for 60 of Behrendt's 150 passing yards, including a 17-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Behrendt said he loves the chemistry he has with Engleman on the play.

"He just has real good timing for the play," Behrendt said.

"I watch his eyes," said Engleman. "If he shifts inside, I'm going inside. It's a good chemistry we've got."

It's typical of the chemistry Behrendt is developing with the entire offense. Somehwere between last season and this one, Behrendt crossed the line from being just the starting quarterback to being the leader of the offense.

"I hope the team looks at me in that way," he said. "I think I've earned the respect of my teammates. We grew a lot closer in the offseason, running drills and going out together. That's helped us on the field."

Receiver Adam Schneider said the offensive players are glad to follow Behrendt's lead.

"People listen to him because he knows what he's talking about," Schneider said. "And he keeps a cool head."

Central Kentucky News Articles