Lincoln has QB dilemma

August 18, 2004|JILL ERWIN

STANFORD - Larry French has seen a lot in his 30 years of coaching high school football, but he said he's never seen anything like the quarterback competition he's watched at Lincoln County.

The Patriots have four players competing to start Friday's opener against Harrison County in the Death Valley Bowl, French's first game as Lincoln's head coach. He said he wishes he had a starter, but the competition is still too close to call.

"We have four kids we think can step out there and play," French said. "I've never had a situation where one wasn't just a little bit better than the others. But all four of them are pretty good, and it's hard to pick. I wish I could make a decision. It may go up to game time."

Juniors Matt Blair and Jared Long and freshmen Levi Rogers and Devon Denson are competing for the starting job at quarterback. French said each candidate has strengths, but it will come down to who he feels is most ready to lead the team. He didn't rule out making a change later, or possibly even changing quarterbacks as game situations warrant.


"We'd like to have a starter, but with the situation the way it is, I'm not displeased with it," French said. "They're competing every day, and they're getting better every day. I can't be disappointed.

"But at the same time, I've been doing this for 30 years and this is something that has got us buffaloed just a little bit. No one is stepping forward and being above the others."

Whoever lines up under center Friday, French likes who he'll have around them. He has been pleased with junior Hagan Folger, sophomore Braxton Miller, senior Gatlin Greer and sophomore Trent Calhoun at the skill positions, and said Denson and Casey Reed have also played well. French said junior Josh Carrier carried the ball well in a scrimmage against Barren County two weeks ago.

Harrison's quarterback runs bootleg well

French expects to see plenty of I-formation and Wing-T looks out of Harrison, and said junior quarterback Cory Britt can run the bootleg well and also has a strong arm. Running backs Devin Wilson, Caleb Switzer and Lucas Wells also could cause problems for Lincoln.

"They went into the Danville scrimmage and held their own," French said. "They looked pretty good."

The Lincoln coach isn't sure what his defense will be able to do.

"I'm not sure we've got a defense," French said. "I was not real pleased with the defense in our scrimmage. I feel like fundamentally, we weren't there. Technique-wise, we weren't there, and discipline-wise, we weren't there. We have a lot of work to do on defense."

However, French said he and the Patriots are ready to get that work done on the field against someone other than themselves.

"They're confident they can play and that's something we've been trying to work on is confidence and getting the commitment out of them to do the things you have to do to win football games. It's slowly coming along," French said.

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