The QB battle this spring is expected to be a closely watched, a very interesting and extremely competitive contest.
C.J. Bennett began the 2012 season as the starter for South Alabama after becoming the starter in 2010 and starting every game in 2011, but eventually found himself on the outside looking in as Virginia transfer Ross Metheny became the starter during the off week following the Troy game. At the conclusion of the 2012 season, C.J. Bennett transferred to Murray St. taking with him, 3 years of experience, 3,409 career passing yards and 20 career TD passes.
Ross Metheny enters spring drills as the starter after getting the start the last 8 games of the 2012 season, but that label may not be more than simply a title. It’s apparent that the QB job is up for grabs this spring with Metheny expecting to get serious push from former Alcorn St. starter Brandon Bridge. Metheny spent his first three years at UVa playing sparingly before graduating and transferring to South Alabama with two years of eligibility remaining. Last fall, he completed 189 of 345 passes (54.8%) for 2,148 yards, 12 TD and 12 interceptions. The redshirt senior also ran for 141 yards. Metheny will bring a year’s worth of Sun Belt experience in Robert Matthews offense to the table along with excellent leadership skills.
Redshirt junior Brandon Bridge was the starter at Alcorn St. in 2010 before a coaching change (and a relationship with the new coaching staff that quickly soured into a forgettable 2011 season) prompted him to look for a change in scenery. As a true freshman in 2010, Bridge completed 150 of 291 (51.5%) passes for 2,086 yards, 19 TD and 13 interceptions. At 6’5,227, he’s an excellent runner and rushed for 601 yards and 8 touchdowns. Bridge brings superior athleticism, excellent arm strength and big play ability to the QB battle.
It will be interesting to see how the offense will tailor itself to the individual quarterbacks. In the second year of the Robert Matthews era, the offense will not change, but the play calling may be dictated by the QB under center. The offensive coaching staff has already been on the road to visit with some staffs who feature the QB as a runner, so it’s very likely the offense will have more QB running options than what we saw in 2012.
Redshirt sophomore Trey Fetner, redshirt sophomore Kolt Peavey and redshirt freshman Grant Powell will also be waging a battle to see who can position themselves to be next in the pecking order, giving them a leg up on the battle whenever Metheny/Bridge are no longer in the picture. Fetner, a former walkon, is an athletic option who last season ran for 30 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Jags wildcat QB. Peavey is a proficient QB. Jags Jungle has heard very good reviews on Powell regarding his ability to spin the ball and his athleticism.
It should be an interesting and exciting spring training for the quarterbacks, and there’s a very good chance the battle for starting QB continues through the summer and into fall camp.