Lycoming QBs seek an edge
Beyond the competition for their position, Chase Williams and Collin Wright see the bigger picture. Both players want to be Lycoming’s full-time starting quarterback. But regardless of how head coach Mike Clark utilizes them this season, they both just want to help the Warriors win.
They’ll get their next chance to do that this afternoon when Lycoming hosts 12th-ranked Delaware Valley at David Person Field. Both will again play this afternoon, just as they did in last week’s 7-6 loss to Susquehanna in the season opener.
A week ago, Clark alternated the two quarterbacks each possession. Each player led a first-quarter scoring drive. Neither led another scoring drive after that.
“Something where we wanted to try to figure this out earlier didn’t allow us because we had some injuries in other places,” Clark said earlier this week. “We’ll see as we continue to move through if one guy differentiates himself hopefully in a positive way. You’d like to see someone be a leader and take charge and make the most of the opportunity.”
It’s the same discussion Clark had about the quarterback position when fall camp opened a month ago. He’s heard the old adage that if you have two quarterbacks, you have none. But he disagrees, believing both Williams and Wright are capable of taking the Warriors’ offense in the direction it needs to go.
The two present different skill sets to the offense, but it doesn’t change how the offense is called depending on who is in the game at the time. Wright is the better thrower of the two with a rocket launcher attached to his right shoulder. Williams is the more athletic of the two and likely a bigger danger with his feet after moving back under center after playing receiver a year ago.
They key for Clark is that both quarterbacks can execute the basic things necessary to make the offense function like it needs to. He pointed out that a week ago he called the same plays for both quarterbacks and there wasn’t one set of calls for one and a different set for the other.
For both quarterbacks alternating each possession is something new to them. But they showed in the first two drives of the game a week ago they were more than comfortable and more than capable of leading the offense. Each drive ended with a Jamie Fisher field goal.
“It’s really weird. But it’s not that I can’t get into a groove, but it could be three plays and nothing,” Williams said. “The drive could be 10 plays, and 10 plays is a significant chunk, and you can get into a rhythm that way. But going three plays and out, it’s harder to get into a groove that way.”
“The key is to get first downs,” Wright said. “If you get first downs, you’ll get into that rhythm.”
Clark considered multiple ways to utilize both quarterbacks in the game. He could have rotated each quarter or even each half. He settled on rotating them each possession for the season opener and will likely do so again today.
Clark also said he’s prepared to lean heavily on one quarterback over the other should one have a hotter hand in game.
“I would have done that (last week), but if you look at their halftime statistics they were pretty even,” Clark said. “There’s no good way to do it. Based on where we were and based on playing in meaningful situations, I thought it was the only solution we had. At least early on you give them both a shot.”
Williams finished the season opener 2 for 9 for 34 yards, 28 of which came on a key third-down pass to Nick Costello to set up the first Fisher field goal. Wright was 8 of 14 for 83 yards, but also threw a crucial interception in the second half inside the Susquehanna 5-yard line.
“Personally, I have to complete more passes and make plays happen that were there and keep drives going by making those plays,” Williams said. “But I don’t think about this is the drive I’m in and I’m out the next drive. It’s just about going out there and trying to make things happen.”
“There are definitely things we need to work on,” Wright said. “Those first two drives went pretty well. We didn’t get in the end zone, but we got points. After that, it went down hill so there’s definitely things we need to work on.”
And the task won’t be any easier today against a Delaware Valley defense which helped upset then ninth-ranked Wesley last week and returns nine of 11 starters from last year’s squad which led the Middle Atlantic Conference in total defense.
“I think both quarterbacks can do what we want, and I think we’re skilled enough,” Clark said. “We just didn’t make enough of the opportunities that presented themselves. We have to find a way to finish those drives and score touchdowns and sustain some other drives.”