Citadel spring report: QBs run wild

Made it out to Saturday morning’s football scrimmage at The Citadel. One week from the spring game, the offense looks to be ahead of the defense, with quarterbacks Ben Dupree and Aaron Miller turning in several long TD runs.

To be fair, the defense was playing a base formation and not really game-planning for the triple option (or the shotgun and I-formation sets the offense showed). Still, it’s too bad Dupree doesn’t have any moves and seems to have lost a step. (Just kidding: “Ben breaks ankles,” one of the linemen said after a long Dupree run). Dupree should be fun to watch during his senior year, especially since he’s also working  on returning punts.

“We had the officials today out for the first time,” coach Kevin Higgins said. “The discipline and focus was good, the ball was rarely on the ground. The offense really had a good today moving the ball. We have a lot of stuff in now on offense and the defense is not game planning for what we are doing.”

Fullback Darien Robinson was held out of Saturday’s scrimmage with a foot issue, with Shaunn Middleton and ex-linebacker Doyen Harris filling in.Vinny Miller looks more than ready to step in as a starter at slotback. Higgins said rising senior Terrance Martin is a key, and Dalton Trevino is just coming back from injury. Saturday was his first day of contact this spring.

“Vinny has had a very good spring,” Higgins said. “Terrance is going to be a senior and we need a big year from him. Dalton just came back and this was his first day of contact. He will be solid for us.”

The offensive line is getting used to playing without All-America center Mike Sellers (who tells me he will likely end up at S.C. State or Bethune-Cookman) and guard Keith Carter (rehabbing his Achilles tendon; he’ll be back in the fall). No doubt the line will miss Sellers; the heat is on Sam Frye and Harrison Davis to function at center. With Carter out, Victor Hill and Jim Knowles are working a the guard spots. Cullen Brown is at one tackle, with Robert Finke and Devin Bice competing at the other.

Behind Dupree and Miller, redshirt freshman Trey White has had a good spring at QB, Higgins said.

The thing we’ve found out about Trey is that he’s a tough competitor,” he said. “All spring, he’s been standing out in scrimmage situations. When the lights go on, he makes plays and wants the ball in his hands.”

Alex Glover is back at tight end, and his ex-Wando HS teammate Brandon Eakins has shown well at receiver.

“Alex has had a good spring,” Higgins said. “We’re doing some more things with the tight end, and he has stepped up. Matt Thompson and Brandon are on the outside, and Brandon has made tremendous strides. He’s really getting in and out of his breaks and is one of our fastest players.”

There is come competition on the defensive line. Bay Amrhein is set at one end and all-SoCon pick Derek Douglas at one tackle. But Mitchell Jeter and Colin Pasons are battling at one tackle and Mark Thomas and Justin Oxendine at the other end. Cam Mobley, out with a leg injury, should be back in the fall.

At linebacker, the emergence of freshman James Riley late last season has helped cover for the absence of Carl Robinson, out for the spring with injury. Carson Smith and Rah Muhammad are back, so this group should have a nice four-man rotation for three spots in the fall.

In the secondary, Brandon McCladdie and Sadath-Jean Pierre have the corners locked down. Safety has a good battle with four guys up for two spots — Julian Baxter, Nick Willis, Dre Copeland and Akeem Garnett, who was forced to play LB last year.

The spring game is set for 1 p.m. March 9 at Johnson Hagood Stadium.

 

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