Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

Sophomore Tyler Tettleton (left) and freshman Kyle Snyder (right) pose for a portrait Monday in Peden Stadium. Tettleton and Snyder are both vying to be the starting quarterback. (Dustin Lennert | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Football: Young passers aim for starting role

Whether quarterbacks Tyler Tettleton and Kyle Snyder are undersized is up for debate, but both players have one thing even less than size: experience.

With one week to play until the 2011 spring game, Ohio has two quarterbacks sharing the reps in practice. One is a sophomore standing less than six feet tall. The other is a freshman who has never played a collegiate game. Both show poise and play-making ability under the intense pressure of charging linebackers and scrutinizing coaches.

Tettleton, a redshirt sophomore, and Snyder, a redshirt freshman, have received the bulk of attention under center this spring. Redshirt freshman Derek Roback migrated to tight end from quarterback last week, and redshirt senior Phil Bates has not yet returned from offseason shoulder surgery. Their absences have left plenty of pigskin for the team’s two smallest quarterbacks to share.

But small size sometimes increases mobility, as Tettleton and Snyder have shown during practice and Saturday scrimmages. Ohio turned to an up-tempo offense with the goals of keeping the defense off-balance and increasing productivity with the football.

“I think Tyler is doing a good job of running our offense and, obviously, finding receivers in the throwing game,” coach Frank Solich said. “His overall generalship has been very good. And I think Kyle’s progressing well, so I’ve been pleased with the quarterback play.”

Last season, Ohio averaged 59.07 offensive plays per game, putting the Bobcats 119th of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Only Wyoming (57.58) executed fewer offensive plays per outing.

As of Saturday’s scrimmage, Solich said the Bobcats had taken 70 more reps in practice than the same point the previous year. He equated 70 snaps to a typical practice session and said the team should fit in the equivalent of two extra practices by the time the spring session ends April 21.

“The pace … it’s so much different from last year ’cause we’d be huddled,” Tettleton said. “We were second to last in the nation in plays ran per game, so you have to really pick it up, and your mind’s just racing, just going through the defense and knowing what play you have to put the guys in.”

Tettleton’s performance during Saturday’s scrimmage demonstrated a number of skills the Norman, Okla. native has refined in practice this spring. He changed plays with audibles, executed precise, discreet handoffs to running backs and scrambled from the pocket when necessary. His completions ranged from a 62-yard catch-and-run to a nine-yard shovel pass.

“My junior and senior year (of high school), we had a no-huddle situation,” Tettleton said. “It wasn’t as fast as this, but it was kind of the same idea. So I’ve been comfortable adjusting to this and getting used to this. I think that helped a lot.”

Snyder, who led an up-tempo offense at Barberton High School, also maintained composure during the scrimmage. He said a fast rate of play keeps the defense from getting comfortable.

“It’s a lot of getting in shape and everything,” Snyder said. “The main thing is getting the defense, catching them off-guard and everything. The fast pace is really working well for us. It should be great going into the season.”

Snyder showed off his open-field speed by way of a 32-yard run during Saturday’s scrimmage. His most memorable pass was a 28-yard completion to freshman Landon Smith, whose acrobatic one-handed grab challenged the conventional understanding of physics. Smith was the only receiver to catch a pass from both quarterbacks.

“They got two different styles, but you’ve just got to learn to cope with the quarterback’s style, any quarterback that they throw in there,” he said. “When you’re a receiver, you don’t think about the balls. You just catch ’em.”

Snyder said he feels comfortable under center, but he identified some areas upon which he hopes to improve.

“Sometimes I’ll force the ball into coverage,” Snyder said. “I need to work on that. A lot of times if I don’t see it, I’ll throw it to the back or take off with it.”

But from the other side of the line of scrimmage, defensive coordinator Jimmy Burrow said he is impressed by the quarterbacks’ execution.

“I think they’re both similar,” Burrow said. “We, on the defensive side, have been really impressed with the way they throw the ball, and again, I think they run the ball well, too. It’s hard to say, but I think against both of them you have to defend the run and the pass.”

With Bates still sidelined and nearly five months until the season opener, there will likely be hundreds of snaps before the starting role is decided. But the dual-threat packages both young quarterbacks bring to the turf ensure the race to be the go-to guy will be a duel.


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH