May 27, 2022

What we learned on day 10

Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-Plenty of things to take away from day ten of Busters fall camp: 

1. Two is better than one-Head Coach Matt Miller feels he has two very good quarterbacks. 

“I feel I have two guys we can win a lot of football games with,” he said. “The quarterback has the ball in his hands every play-meaning he can get hit; the other guy has to be ready.”

Neither quarterback has necessarily distinguished themselves through ten days, but if that’s the case, it would appear freshman Akeem Jones would get the nod over sophomore Jake Curran. Jones can make all the throws; plus he adds a level of athleticism to the offense that they lost when Nick Marshall transferred to Auburn. He’s also commanded the respect from his veteran teammates, something that’s very rare for a true freshman to garner. 

Meantime Curran seems like a logical choice as well. His knowledge of the offense and live-game experience could give him the upper hand. But make no mistake, Jones has gained significant ground on Curran based on his ability to digest the playbook in such a small period of time. 

One thing is for certain: If the coaching staff goes with Jones, he will undoubtedly make rookie mistakes. In fact, during 7-on-7 drills on Tuesday, Jones made a nice read; looking off the safety and lofting a pass down the right sideline. His mistake was not leading the receiver; the pass should have been picked off. But with those types of mistakes comes a tremendous upside: A powerful, accurate arm that can squeeze the ball into tight windows-plus the ability to make plays with his legs. 

Bottom line: The longer Miller takes to make a decision, the more likely he is to go with the freshman. Now we just wait!

Advantage: Jones

2. Who would be number three? The two locks to make this squad are Jones and Curran, but who’s behind them? Through the first week and a half of practice, Patrick Hoard has taken most of the snaps behind the top two guys; however, with the program only able to sign 20 out-of-state players, Miller might be inclined to carry just two quarterbacks. As for an emergency signal caller: That could fall on freshman Mikail Grace who started camp vying for the top quarterback spot, but has seemingly locked up the starting safety job. 

3. Calling all defenders-In 2012, the Buster defense allowed more than 600 yards per game; one would think something has to give this season. 

The Busters bring back plenty of experience, especially at the linebacker spot. Sophomore D’vante Derricott (just recently committed to Kansas State) and veteran Earl Clark spearhead a group that could reek havoc on opposing offenses. 

The secondary should be in good hands with a potential lock-down corner in Tim Hill. The wildcard: Safety Mikail Grace. The freshman started fall camp as a quarterback, but has quickly made the adjustment to Joe Gordon’s defensive backfield. How good is he? His size (6’2) is unusual for a safety, but it gives him a competitive advantage in many areas. In practice, he’s made a handful of interceptions on routes that seemingly beat him. But his sheer size allows him to make up significant ground. 

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