At the beginning of his media briefing on Thursday, Kevin Wilson was asked what he’s learned about the quarterbacks the past couple of days.
“That we’re a long way away from having a good one,” Wilson said.
It went on from there.
He was asked if any of them had done anything to impress him.
“Not really,” he said. “Either our defense is really really good, or our quarterbacks really not very good. It’s one or the other. Because we don’t get open and we don’t throw it to them, so we’re just OK. We’re not good enough. None of them. And it’s not negative. It’s not worried. They’re not close to what they ought to be yet.”
Wilson made it clear he wasn’t trying to use the media to light a fire either.
“They don’t read the paper, so I ain’t trying to motivate them,” he said. “I’ve already talked to them. They’ve already been motivated. We just need to be better there.”
The competition has been trimmed and now just includes redshirt sophomores Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker and true freshman Tre Roberson. Roberson has been inconsistent, coaches said, but that’s not much of a surprise considering he’s in his first college preseason. However, they were hoping to see more consistency for Kiel and Wright-Baker, who battled for the backup job behind Ben Chappell the last two seasons.
“I expect more out of Dusty and Ed because they’ve had a spring here,” co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Rod Smith. “I want them to be further along than what they are from an execution standpoint. I don’t want say it’s disappointing. It’s frustrating because my expectations are higher, maybe than what theirs are. I want them to be better than what they are. That’s kind of where we’re at.”
Smith said he believes Kiel and Wright-Baker understand the offense, but they need to get it at a higher level.
“It’s one thing to know the plays, it’s another thing to own the plays,” Smith said. “You can know what’s going on, but if you don’t own it, you don’t know exactly where to go with the football whenever this coverage changes or when this blitz happens. If you can’t process that and process that quickly, you’re gonna be a step behind. And I think that’s where we’re at right now. I think they’re thinking too much right now. They’re not reacting, and that’s because we’ve got to get more in depth.”
Smith said he’s thinks Roberson has come along, but is still where one might expect a freshman to be.
“He’s getting better,” Smith said. “There’s still a lot of mental stuff on his plate. It’s gonna take some time obviously, but at the same time, we’re gonna get him ready as fast as we can in case we need to play him. We’ll see. I know the kid makes plays. He’s swimming but he still makes plays at times. There’s something to be said for that.”
Smith said repeatedly that “it’s not all doom and gloom,” and that he believes that all three quarterbacks can be what they want them to be.
“There’s an expectation of where we want those guys,” Smith said. “They got to get to our expectations, is my point. When that happens, I think, are they good enough to do it? I think they are. I think they are. They just have to start believing themselves a little bit more. Keep putting the time in, like they’ve been doing and just keep coming, keep working.”
In other practice notes, junior running back Darius Willis participated in some drills on Thursday but didn’t go through the whole practice.Wilson hasn’t said exactly what Willis’ injury is, but he’s been dealing with a long line of them in his career, including a torn patellar tendon last year that ended his season four games in.
“They’re still trying to get him going,” Wilson said. “He still hasn’t run any plays yet. He’s been hurt.”
Wilson said he doesn’t know when he’s going to make Willis serve his one-game suspension yet.
Wilson also announced that four walk-ons — Dre Muhammad, Nick Freeland, Brandon McGhee and Greg Heban — have been awarded scholarships.