Football Fall Camp Notebook: ‘Frustrating’ QB battle rages on, Stingily’s ‘weird’ injury and more

By Frank Gogola

With football’s fall camp in full swing, things are beginning to heat up on the practice field.

While no quarterback has emerged in the race to replace Jordan Lynch, a number of players, including Tyler Loos, Rasheen Lemon and Jamaal Bass, are making their returns to the field. Although the defense and special teams are beginning the process of solidifying their two-deeps, the offense knows it will be without tailback Cameron Stingily in the early portion of the season.

Quarterback battle continues

While the race to replace Lynch has been ongoing since spring practice, head coach Rod Carey said after Friday’s practice that the first week of fall camp felt like spring ball all over again in the sense that all three quarterbacks – Drew Hare, Matt McIntosh and Anthony Maddie – are improving, but no one is separating themselves from the pack.

“They’re all progressing – all three of them,” Carey said. “… And I don’t have one that’s leading right now in the clubhouse. [It’s] a little frustrating, actually. They’re actually all three getting better.”

Bob Cole, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, said Hare is the best pure passer, the best pocket passer, but McIntosh and Maddie, who “both throw the ball well,” bring a little bit more to the table as far as straight-out running the football.

“I’m excited about the cast we have around the quarterbacks,” Cole said. “I think we’re real solid up front, at tight end, at wide receiver [and] at running back. We’re a deep football team on offense. Now, we just got to get a guy back there that could distribute the ball to them.”

While Lynch rarely, if ever, took snaps under center, Cole said the offense will stay in pistol formation no matter who emerges as the starting quarterback.

In addition to Hare, McIntosh and Maddie, true freshmen Landon Root and Ryan Graham have been getting reps throughout fall camp and are being given the opportunity to win the starting quarterback job.

“Like I said before, they absolutely are getting a look, but when you come in as a freshman it’s a lot, it takes a while,” Carey said, “So, they’re obviously behind, but it’s wide open.”

Cameron Stingily out with injury

The Huskies will be without Stingily, who ran for 1,119 yards and nine touchdowns last season, in the backfield for at least the first four weeks of the season, Carey said at the conclusion of Friday’s practice.

Carey would not speak as to what the type of injury is as Stingily is still going through examinations. He did say the injury occurred about three weeks ago when Stingily was at home.

“He was doing nothing,” Carey said. “At home doing nothing. He was doing nothing. It’s weird.”

Carey said he expects redshirt senior tailback Akeem Daniels, who received a medical redshirt after he sat out last season with a foot injury, to take more snaps early in the season. The Huskies will continue to go with a committee approach in the backfield, but Carey said whoever gets the carries is the least of his worries right now.

“The biggest thing I’m worried about is Cam and making sure that we get him healthy and we’re safe with him and that he has an opportunity to come back,” Carey said.

Tyler Loos, Jamaal Bass and Rasheen Lemon make returns to field

Redshirt senior left tackle Tyler Loos, who’s suffered two compound fractures the last two years, has been getting reps with the first-team offense during fall camp.

Coming off a broken left fibula, a dislocated left ankle and a torn deltoid ligament injury he sustained in 2013, Carey said Loos is farther along at this time this year than he was at this time last season when he was coming off a broken right tibia and fibula sustained in the 2012 season.

“He’s just had an opportunity to train,” Carey said. “He completely healed this time a lot earlier, so he had a chance to train in this summer. When you get a chance to train and get ready for football season, then it’s just a matter of knocking the rust off. Last year he wasn’t healthy until right before camp. … It’s night and day.”

Defensively, redshirt senior outside linebacker Jamaal Bass has been practicing “sparingly” during fall camp.

“He’s taken limited reps, and I think that will increase a little bit at a time as we go,” said defensive coordinator Jay Niemann. “Obviously, for us to be as good as we can be on defense for him to be healthy will be crucial. … He’s solid. He knows what he’s doing. We just got to make sure he’s 100 percent ready to go before we turn him loose.”

Also returning to the linebacking core is redshirt junior Rasheen “Rock” Lemon, who was suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules prior to the Eastern Illinois game.

“Any time that anybody on our team has in jeopardy the opportunity to graduate and be successful in life we’re going to go ahead and make sure he has every opportunity to get that,” Carey said. “He has that. He’s back. It’s wonderful. It’s the story of the year. He has come back, and he is here ready to go. … I’m really proud of Rock.”

Marlon Moore transitions to safety

Junior Marlon Moore has been making the transition from cornerback to safety since spring camp, and Niemann said Moore and redshirt senior safety Dechane Durante have “looked good” together.

“Marlon’s made a good transition,” Niemann said. “He’s really picked up all of his assignments well and does a good job communicating and understands his job as well as those that play around him. I’m really happy with his transition.”

Other vacancies

In addition to finding a starting quarterback, the Huskies are in the process of solidifying their two-deeps on defense and on special teams.

Defensively, Niemann said redshirt junior Paris Logan, who played in all 14 games and started nine last season, will more than likely be one of the starting cornerbacks.

“Everyone else, frankly, is untested,” Niemann said.

As for who will be the other starter and who will be on the two-deep, the coaching staff will continue to evaluate between redshirt sophomore Anthony Brooks, who saw action in four games last season, and four or five freshman new to the program.

The defensive line has some big shoes to fill after losing their entire starting cast from last season. Niemann said “there’s good talent there,” but the coaching staff has to let everybody compete throughout camp to see who emerges as the two-deep.

In the kicking game, senior Tyler Wedel has been practicing in all three phases – kickoffs, punts and field goals – throughout the first week of fall camp.

“I would rather that he doesn’t do all three, but he’s been in the fire before and done all three,” Carey said. “I know he can. We’re giving everybody an opportunity to win a spot. And then Wedel will do the other phases if a guy wins it. If no one wins it, then he’ll have to do all three.”