Camp report Day 2: Quarterbacks improve; defense still ahead (Audio)
Listen to Matt Miller’s Day 2 Presser
Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-When the 2014 season starts, the Busters will be dawning a new man behind center. And for the second straight season, Garden City’s success will be heavily predicated on their play.
Through the first two days, there have been inconsistencies (as expected) and great plays. But nothing earth shattering during the first weekend of fall camp.
Lasalle shines; Gemmel steady
After under throwing a receiver badly on a double move during team drills and misfiring on several others, Tyler Lasalle could have easily folded the tent. He didn’t.
The Holcomb product, who turned some heads during the spring game, took command of Matt Miller’s offense during 7-on-7 on Sunday night. He finished 8-of-13 with three touchdowns, including a beautiful 40-yard strike down the right sideline to Darryl Terrell. On the play, Lasalle used a beautiful pump fake before lofting a perfect spiral over the outstretched arms of the defensive back.
“Tyler was kind of a breakthrough star during our spring football game,” Miller said. “He’s gotten better and better. Obviously, there’s a ton of athleticism there; the guy is as fast a quarterback as I have.”
On this particular day, he showed off his smarts rather than his legs. He even found a comfort zone with newly acquired wide receiver James Haley, who on one particular play, made a hands grab near the right boundary, then cut it back across the field for a 40-yard touchdown. Haley finished with three receptions and a score.
With all the good, Lasalle still had his moments. He missed a read on one play, where Terrell had single coverage down the sideline, and instead threw to a check-down receiver. A few plays earlier, Lasalle chucked a ball into triple coverage and was intercepted in the end zone by Donald Warren.
As for Bryce Gemmel, the freshman showed some moxie. He was a little more efficient (8-11) with a touchdown and a sack. But he too fell victim to a costly mistake in the end zone, when Quin Stovall undercut the route and intercepted the pass.
Gemmel worked more underneath on Sunday-making a couple of really nice throws to the sideline. But the freshman struggled in other areas-especially in team drills where he excelled on day one.
Elkhart’s Alex Gomez didn’t take any reps in 7-on-7, but continued his strong weekend during team drills.
The competition will get even more interesting once Danarious Graham enters the fray. The freshman from Pompano Beach, Fla is still waiting on some final paperwork and is expected at practice by Wednesday.
Defense making plays
Last year, the Buster defense was one of the best in the country. One of the main reasons why: the back end-with guys like Wonderful Terry, Tim Hill, Sam Green and Makail Grace. 12 months later, three of those four are gone, with only Green remaining. Still, through the first two days of fall camp, there hasn’t been much fall off.
Quin Stovall and Donald Warren each made spectacular interceptions in the end zone; Warren’s would have been a pick six as he danced up the right sideline before coasting onto the plus side of the field.
Then there’s the linebacker play, which includes standout holdovers Dalton Gantz and Alex Neuschafer. And word is, Kalil Gray could push for one of the two remaining spots-assuming the Buster base is once again a 3-4.
If sideline throws are any indication, then Danarious Graham might have already locked up the starting quarterback job.
The kid, who starred at Deerfield Beach High School after overcoming tragedy in his life, was launching missiles for a second straight day, while the rest of his mates were in uniform. The freshman is still waiting on some final paperwork and should be ready to go by Wednesday.
The spiraling passes were with the flick of the wrist-much like Michael Vick does. Is Graham Vick? No. But it doesn’t mean that Buster fans can’t dream, right?
Wide Receiver Brandon Snell was in uniform Sunday but not in pads. He’s still waiting on physical paperwork and could be in practice as early as Monday.
“I’m not worried about Brandon Snell,” Miller said. “We all know what he’s capable of.”
How about 72 receptions for 841 yards and 10 touchdowns. And once the quarterback position is solidified, expect the passing game to really excel with Snell on one side and Monterio Burchfield on the other. Burchfield missed most of last season with a virus, but looks like he’s in great shape during the first two days of practice.
As for the third receiver position: that’s definitely up in the air. But don’t count out Darryl Terrell, the red-shirt freshman who tied for the team lead with three catches during Sunday’s 7-on-7. Spring, Texas standout James Haley could also find himself on Miller’s depth chart come August 30. He had three catches for 40 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.
Busters return to the practice field Monday at 2 p.m.