Paladins Honor the Past at Spring Game
by, 04-19-2010 at 09:58 PM (1668 Views)
Furman’s current head coach, Bobby Lamb, dipped into the history of the school’s football program to add a nice touch to the routine by asking former head coaches Art Baker and Dick Sheridan to lead the teams in the spring game on April 17.
It’s been a while since the Paladins ran mostly a game format in its spring game, but Lamb chose to do that this year. It worked well, enabling not only the return of two coaches that meant so much to Furman football but also facilitating the continued quarterback competition for the player to replace record-setting Jordan Sorrells at the position.
“You talk about great weekend,” Lamb said after the game. “We had 150 former players come back. This morning, we had a breakfast with our players. All our former players came over and sat down for an hour and talked with our players on a one-on-one basis. Coach Baker and Coach Sheridan addressed our players this morning. It’s the best thing we’ve done since I’ve been at Furman, and we’re going to continue it. We’re going to get two more honorary coaches next year.
“Those two right there (pointing to Baker and Sheridan) are responsible for building this place. Coach Sheridan was the coach when that happened (Paladin Stadium opened). Coach Baker came here in 1973 when Furman was almost ready to do away with football and got it turned in the right direction. They deserve all the credit. I told the team today, the foundation was set by Coach Baker and his staff and then, Coach Sheridan. The ideas and principles they set forth, we use today, and we’ll carry that on for the rest of the time I’m here.”
For the game, the Baker squad edged the Sheridan team 12-7 in a remarkably even game dominated by the defense. Sheridan led primarily the first-team offense and second-team defense while Baker coached the first-team defense and second-team offense. The two leading candidates for quarterback – senior Cody Worley and junior Chris Forcier – spent time directing each squad in the first half. Dakota Derrick and John Hollingsworth played quarterback in a second half that featured two eight-minute quarters and a non-stop clock.
The first-team offense generated 141 yards on 43 plays. The second-team offense posted 163 yards on 38 plays. During his time with the Baker squad, Forcier threw a nice, 32-yard touchdown pass to sophomore split end Daniel McFadden as he broke open in the end zone. Earlier, he had been tagged in the end zone for a safety while quarterbacking the first team. That play came courtesy of Brandon Boykin, who had recently moved from linebacker to defensive end and who made several plays in the spring game.
For the day, Forcier completed nine of 13 passes for 106 yards, one interception, and one touchdown. Worley finished six of 14 for 40 yards with no picks and no touchdowns. Derrick completed just two of three passes, but one covered 16 yards over the middle to Adam Mims for the Sheridan team’s only score.
Lamb said the non-contact limitations of the spring game hindered his quarterbacks a bit. “Today is the first day we’ve had the yellow jerseys on, and Forcier and Worley are not quite as effective with the yellow jerseys. I doubt we’d have had a safety because Forcier can slip a lot of people. They made some good plays. We were inconsistent across the board. We’re going to continue to battle and take it on into August camp and see what happens.”
Furman should boast a strong running game in the fall with three experienced runners – senior Mike Brown, junior Tersoo Uhaa, and sophomore Jerry Williams – returning. Williams led all rushers in the spring game with 76 yards on eight carries, including a 42-yard run, the longest play from scrimmage of the day.
“Our offense really got the best of our defense for the first half (of spring practice), and the last week here, the defense stepped up and has really done well. (Linebacker) Kadarron Anderson was all over the place. He was a good player last year, but he looks like he’s improved even more. (Cornerback) Ryan Steed made some big plays. (Linebacker) Matthew Solomon had a big hit on fourth down, and Tersoo’s hard to stop. There were a lot of positives out there. The thing that we’ve talked about the most is we want to be a tough team, we want to give great effort, and we want to have discipline, and we showed that out there today.
The Paladins will start their season September 11 at home against Colgate. Furman’s other non-conference games are at South Carolina and versus Howard at home. Lamb will lead the Paladins on the road in the conference against Wofford, Samford, Appalachian State, and Elon. Home SoCon games include The Citadel, Chattanooga, Western Carolina, and Georgia Southern.
For now, though, Lamb has a positive outlook about the Furman football team. “I’m extremely pleased with where we are after 14 days. We’ve had a very positive experience since January 11 when we had that first team meeting.”