17 years ago Ashlye Hylton Comments Off on QB Overload:
The battle for the Sam Houston State starting quarterback slot officially began last Wednesday when the team held its first day of spring practice.Senior returning starter, Brian Null, has been forced into competition with Division I senior transfers, Josh McCown and Robert Stephenson.Null, who transferred from Blinn Junior College, was forced to sit out most of last season due to an injury, but is optimistic about this seasons possibilities and the competition.Im kind of excited about it because the competition is only going to make me better, Null said. Its fun because we all get along, and all three of us are getting a whole lot better because of that.This is probably the best group of quarterbacks Ive ever been with. I think its going to help us out a lot. You have three quarterbacks that are good leaders; theyre seniors, and people will look up to us. Its easier because people relate differently to different people. We have three different guys with three different personalities that the whole offensive team can relate to and look up to.Null is eligible for a redshirt year but would rather not utilize that option. I dont want to redshirt, but if it comes down to it, whatever is best for the team is what Ill do. Im going to try my hardest not to, he said.Newcomer Josh McCown, who is a senior transfer out of Southern Methodist University, is also eligible for a redshirt year and is also itching to take the field this season.Theres pressure; all three of us want to play. Brian and I have a redshirt option, but we all want to play, McCown said. Last season at SMU, McCown started five of eight games for the Mustangs and threw for 1,969 yards and nine touchdowns. I would like to think that Im a good quarterback, McCown said. But so are the other two. If Im not good enough to be the starter, Im going to push the guy in front of me, and its going to be better for the team. Its going to make the quarterback position for Sam Houston better as a whole.Both McCown and Stephenson are in similar positions, both having transferred from Division I programs.Stephenson spent two years, including a redshirt year, at the University of Tulsa before transferring to the University of Houston last year and finally to Sam Houston State this past fall. After overcoming injuries at both schools, he is more than ready to compete this season.Im going to concentrate on doing my best for my last year, Stephenson said. I think competition is good. I think its good for all of us; we all have a real good friendship, and were always helping each other in practice.Stephenson said he is comfortable at SHSU and likes the school and the people as well as the team. I like Sam a lot. The strength program is really good, and this team is a lot closer than the other schools Ive been at, he said. I was hesitant to come to a Division I-AA, but I think it was a great choice; its neat being around the whole team and coming to practice makes everything fun.Head coach Ron Randleman said he is impressed so far, and that all three quarterbacks have been working really hard. McCown definitely has had the most playing experience against the best competition, hes been under fire; but its too early to say what the pecking order will be.Its different for McCown and Stephenson because everything is new to them; I dont want those guys to feel like they have to do everything right, right away, Randleman said. Were going to make our decisions over a period of time.Both McCown and Stephenson agree that their experiences at the Division I level will be beneficial, but the talent at the Division I-AA level is extremely competitive. Obviously in Division I football there is a higher level of competition. There are a lot of talented athletes there, McCown said. Anytime you play and have been through it, it helps but I dont think it hurts the other guys for them not to have that experience.It helps me and my confidence to know that Ive played and performed at that level, but there is plenty of talent at this level and guys who could play Division I ball. The defenses here are similar to those Ive faced at SMU. Its really helped me to play against really good competition. Although Stephenson had similar experiences at the Division I level, he said he feels that the competition is similar. Ive had to sit out a lot. Ive been in practice squads and played some; I think it helps a little, but football is football, and Division I-AA is almost the same, he said.All three of us, were all kind of new, and we all want it really bad. Its really competitive, even though we all get along. I think the competition is going to help, and it is going to make us better, Stephenson said.