STATESBORO—It’s fair to say that after Georgia Southern’s first fall scrimmage, there’s competition for the quarterback spot. Kevin Ellison showed his command of the offense, but Favian Upshaw put his speed and agility on display on Saturday morning at Paulson Stadium.
Ellison continues to top the depth chart.
“I like to stand back there and just kind of watch the quarterback control the guys on offense and also be able to see what the defense is lining up in. I thought (Ellison) had very good command,” head coach Willie Fritz said. “Favian has unbelievable speed and quickness. It’s going to be a competition. A good competition.”
For the most part, Fritz won’t hesitate to move players around positions to maximize the talent on the field, but in the case of the quarterbacks, he says, you always need to have talent ready.
“In this offense you’re going to need two,” Fritz said about the quarterback position. “Three at times.”
Upshaw’s 18-yard run on a draw around the right side was one of two touchdowns scored on the morning. The other was a goal-line run punched in by running back Ryan Peterson. Running backs Matt Breida and Alfred Ramsby worked with the ones and twos, respectively.
Quarterbacks Ezayi Youyoute and true freshman Monteo Garrett also got work in.
Most of the big plays were made by the defense. Darrius White and Antonio Glover each had an interception, and the loudest play of the day came from a blitzing Vegas Harley, who blew up a zone read play in the backfield early in the scrimmage.
“The defensive line did a fantastic job of doing their responsibilities,” said Harley, who was a candidate to start at quarterback in the spring but moved to safety over the summer. “When the hole opened for me, it was hard not to make the play.”
It was Harley’s first tackle on defense.
“This was the first opportunity he’s had to go out there and tackle to the ground,” defensive coordinator Jack Curtis said. “There’s a lot of learning going on still with him, but we’re pleased where he’s at.”
Harley joined Matt Dobson, also a converted quarterback, in the secondary this season. Curtis likes converting option quarterbacks into defensive players.
“They’re good athletes, what we do with the option they’re good runners and they’re usually the best athletes on their high school team,” he said. “It’s a good transition to put that guy over there on defense.”
Because Fritz spends so much time in practice drilling fundamentals, the scrimmage was a good opportunity to see not only a player’s athleticism, but his execution, too.
“(Say) I’m a wide receiver and all I’m thinking about is getting lined up, thinking about the snap count and those kinds of things, rather than what my assignment is,” Fritz said. “You’ve got to have guys who are game savvy, who can do both.”
Ellison said the work has helped his game.
“They’ve done a great job of teaching us technique and making sure our mechanics are as good as they can be,” Ellison said. “As quarterbacks, we’re more technical now. You’ve got to be able to read a defense and know where everybody’s going.”