June 16, 2024

Camp report Day 5: Still unanswered questions (Audio)

Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-Wednesday was supposed to be the day the quarterback competition got a whole lot more interesting. It was supposed to be the unveiling of a fourth man into the show. That didn’t happen. 

Danarious Graham, the highly touted signal caller from the sunshine state was not in uniform again. But a new face emerged in the battle: welcome Tijuan Sifford who comes to Garden City from North Carolina. 

“A Big 12 school put us on to him,” Miller said. “He’s a very talented guy, but we’ll see. He’s getting into this deal a little late.”

As for Graham’s status: 

“Danarious (Graham) will be out with us tomorrow. So we’ll see.”

One of the coaches told me that you’ll know when Graham’s out there because of his release. It’s laser quick, and he throws the deep ball as well as anyone. But still, he’ll be behind in reps. 

Alex Gomez making a name

Here’s the thing: we’re all assuming that this is a two-quarterback race between Bryce Gemmel and Graham. And for all intent purposes, it very well could be. But that hasn’t stopped the former Elkhart standout from gaining ground. 

Gomez had another strong day-completing 5-of-6 passes in 7-on-7, which included touchdown strikes to Brandon Snell and LeMonta Truitt Jr. 

“Alex (Gomez) continues to make strides,” Miller said. “You always hope that you get the guy you recruited. With Alex, we have the guy who we recruited.”

Gomez’s counterparts on the other hand struggled again. Tyler Lasalle misfired on his first four passes before finishing with a 40-yard bomb to Snell, who made a ridiculous one-handed catch in amongst three defenders. Gemmel was just 1-for-5, but in all fairness, one of those four incompletions was a Jalen Turner drop. 

As for the newest guy in camp Sifford, he didn’t fair very well. He didn’t take any reps in 7-on-7, but during team drills he consistently overthrew his receivers on deep balls and was inaccurate on intermediate routes. But that’s to be expected; the guy just walked through the doors Tuesday night. 

Battle of the kickers

The lost competition through the first five days of camp has been the kickers. Garden City grad Ismael Hernandez vs. Jorge Mendez from Ulysses. 

Hernandez converted 44 percent of his field goal attempts as a senior last season, including a season-best 38-yarder. He was 42-of-45 on extra points. Meantime Mendez was just 1-of-4 on field goals and 39-of-45 on PATs for coach Jason Kenny. 

All the numbers aside, the most festive part of camp so far is when each kicker lines up with the entire sideline making as much noise as they possible can; simulating a Saturday atmosphere. 

As for the edge: don’t count out Hernandez (No Garden City bias at all). He’s smooth. But it comes down to productivity. Whoever wins the job, will have to replace Tyler Peterson, who will go down as one of the best kickers in school history. 

What’s Next

Two-a-day practices continue on Thursday with the morning session at 9 and the evening session at 6:30. 

Listen to Matt Miller’s presser