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Sunday, August 8, 2010

More on the newcomer QBs

We got our first chance to speak with the true freshmen quarterbacks after Saturday’s practice. I had a story in Sunday’s papers on the two walk-ons (Greg Bingham and Parker Welch), but here briefly are thumbnail sketches of what both of them and Hutson Mason had to say.

Mason, the No. 2 quarterback, didn’t expect to be working with the second-teamers at this point, but he called it “an exciting adjustment.”

“It wasn’t something that anybody expected from the day I signed,” Mason said. “But that’s reality. You can’t see the future, you can’t predict anything. I’m excited for the opportunity that I have.”

He said he’s done a lot of homework, trying to master a couple plays every night, and pacing himself in the meeting room. Skill-wise, the 6-foot-3 Mason will depend on his accuracy.

“I don’t have a Mettenberger or a Stafford arm, but I think if I can place it where it’ll need to be place, I’ll be fine,” Mason said.

And yes, he’s had his moments where he’s realized he’s probably going up against future NFL players in practice.

“I get those every day,” he said, smiling. “They bring the heat. That (first-team) defense brings the heat. Sometimes I forget I’m going up against the one defense. I’ve been here for a week, and I’ve been going against the one defense every day.”

How ready would Mason be if he had to go in there right now? He took a deep breath.

“That’s a tough question,” he said. “I’d say I’ve picked it up a lot quicker than expected, but to go into an SEC game right now, in my first week, I’d still think there’s a lot more things I need to work on. Maybe by the end of camp when Sept. 4 gets here maybe I will have taken a few steps forward.”

As for the walk-ons, Saturday was the first time to get their backgrounds. They’re both intriguing, potentially diamond-in-the-rough kind of stories. I'm not saying either of them are ever going to play significantly, but they do have some upside, based on their histories.

Welch was hurt most of his senior year, suffering an ankle sprain in his team’s second game. But he wouldn’t have passed much anyway, since he played in a Wing-T offense.

“We may have thrown the ball 50 times my junior year,” Welch said. “And competing against Hutson Mason here, (his team) threw it sometimes 50 times a game, according to him.”

Welch didn’t have any scholarship offers from any schools, but he said Steve Spurrier also offered him a preferred walk-on spot. But since Welch was “born and raised Red and Black” it was an easy decision.

“(Bobo) said, ‘We feel like we can use you one day, we just need to teach you, you’ve got a lot to learn. And I agree,” Welch said. “I’ve learned so much already, and it’s been overwhelming. I’m getting used to it, and I like it.”

Welch added this:

“A lot of people don’t think this, but coach Bobo is one smart man about football. He knows so much. It’s overwhelming, sitting in those meetings with coach Bobo, I’m like, Wow, I’ve got a lot to learn. But I’m getting used to it. And the more I hang around them and they coach me, I’ll get better.”

The The 6-foot-4 Bingham apparently has a gun, judging by knocking off a receiver’s helmet in Saturday’s practice. (A player whose chin strap wasn’t on.)

But by his own admission, Bingham is raw.

“I think I need to work on everything right now,” he said, then uncorked a laundry list: His throwing motion is too long, more like a baseball pitcher. His footwork was “sloppy.” And reading coverages, which he said was the biggest area of improvement.

“Arm strength is a strength of mine,” Bingham said. “I also think I’m willing to work hard. Very hard, to improve what I need to improve. And right now to play at this level there’s a lot I need to improve on.”

His high school team changed coaches three times while he was there.

“I think the career stats got lost somewhere in the mix,” Bingham said.

Mason pointed out how unusual a situation it was for Welch and Bingham.

“You get walk-ons that come in here, they usually probably don’t get many reps at all. They’re even getting a lot more reps than they expected. … Parker and Greg are doing a great job. We’re all just freshmen trying to learn as much as possible.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, Seth! Your first week wasn't too bad either. Keep it coming.