Earlier this week, Army coach Rich Ellerson addressed the team’s quarterbacking situation heading into preseason camp.
Ellerson said the Black Knights will start where they ended spring practice, sophomore A.J. Schurr as Army’s No. 1 quarterback and junior Angel Santiago, No. 2.
“They competed very well during the spring,” Ellerson said. “We felt like at the end of spring A.J. was a little ahead but it’s very competitive.”
Ellerson also said he’s not ready to count sophomore Kelvin White or senior Cody Jackson out of the mix.
“It remains competitive,” Ellerson said.
A little bit of coachspeak.
Make no mistake about it, starting quarterback is Schurr’s to lose.
Schurr impressed Army coaches with his preparation last season. He was ready to play when called upon five times in relief of four-year starter Trent Steelman. Schurr showed flashes both operating the option and throwing the ball. In just 18 attempts, Schurr threw more touchdowns (2) than Steelman, who finished his career as Army’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (45).
Maybe, Schurr’s best quality is his confidence.
“I don’t know if A.J. will ever admit this but me knowing A.J, I think he wants people to forget about Trent sooner than later,” said Steve Anderson, a two-year captain (2009-10) at Army who coached Schurr at prep school. “Not in a bad way… I think that’s the kind of mentality that A.J. has. I think he would want people to be like, ‘Yep, Trent was great. But, who is here now.’ ”
Schurr’s response at media day to Anderson’s comments: “I’m not here to try and make people forget about Trent Steelman but at the same time if I’m the quarterback I don’t want people still to be talking about Trent Steelman. It is a balance. I’m not going to try to be anything that Trent was because I’m not him. I’m going to be the best me I can be and just come out every day and compete and leave it all out there.”
What’s the best Schurr?
“A guy that gets the job done,” said Schurr, who played his high school football at Libertville, Ill., outside of Chicago. “Any way that is. If I need to throw the ball 30 times a game or I need to throw the ball once, I’m going to do everything I can to get the job done and do what the team needs.”
Schurr will get his first shot against Morgan State on August 30 at Michie Stadium in West Point.
The more interesting battle in camp could be who will back up Schurr.
Santiago has the experience. He’s the lone quarterback, who has started (Rutgers in 2011). Santiago is very ball conscious, which is a good quality considering Army’s fumbling issues the past two seasons.
If White can stay healthy through training camp, Army should find a way to get the 6-3, 215-pound sophomore on the field. White is one of the team’s better athletes. He has the strongest arm of any quarterback. White could be used in some obvious passing situations.
Freshmen Tevin Long, Matt Kaufmann and Brandon Carletti-Silva aren’t expected to contribute this season and can grow with a year of development in Army’s triple-option system. Long (5-10, 170) and Kaufmann (5-10, 195) throw left-handed. They shared quarterbacking duties at Army Prep last season with Long getting more playing time.
Carletti-Silva was wearing a limited jersey at Army’s first practice Thursday.
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