Look for Bearden to keep hold on Trojans’ QB slot

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Sports Editor

Not long ago, everyone was calling for TSU head coach Larry Blakeney to pull Brock Nutter permanently.

"He can’t run," some said.

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"Can’t throw," said others.

"About the only thing he can do is take sacks."

Granted Nutter didn’t always know how to get rid of the football when 290-pound defensive linemen were starting to camp out in the Trojans’ backfield, but heck, the guy did win his share of ball games.

Everybody was looking for Hansell to usurp Nutter last season. Now some want incoming JUCO transfer Matt Ray to usurp Hansell.

Taking a look at the statistics, it’s not hard to see why. Ray’s thrown for about 25 times the amount of football field then Bearden has. He’s played close to the sunset, in California and Nevada, where the West Coast Offense originated, something the Trojans turn to on occasion in offensive coordinator John Shannon’s multi-faceted Trojan Spread.

In the west side version of college football, points pile up faster then Liz Taylor’s marriages and the coast is known for its quarterbacks. Aikman. John Elway. Joey Harrington.

But something tells me Bearden will stave off the challenge of Ray. I don’t know. Call it a hunch.

For one, Bearden’s spent a year in the system. He’s got to have at least a working knowledge of where he lines up, where his receivers line up and where his running backs line up. While Nutter had to grasp a tremendous amount of knowledge in only a few short months last year, Bearden has two springs and an 11-game season under his belt.

Second, he brings a good deal of athletic ability to the field. Unlike Nutter, Bearden can run, can scamper, can ball fake. He knows that when the passing lanes start to disappear, the best thing he can do is turn to the feet.

Plus, I just think the Troy State offense wants to play for Bearden. I mean the guy waited a year for the chance to lead, might has well give him the opportunity.

Shannon has said he’s going to rely on both players at some point during the season, which may be the case. I just look for Bearden to be getting a majority of the snaps.

Thanks to Bill Floyd who wrote in to share his feelings on the Troy Nationals great run through the postseason. As many know, Troy was eliminated from the state tournament by McAdory 3-0 last week but that doesn’t take away from what these nine and 10-year-olds accomplished. For your pleasure, here is the letter in its entirety.

Dear City of Troy,

As this is being written 13 boys on the Troy National Dixie Minor tournament team are headed home from Thomasville, Ala. As the District 6 champions, they have experienced the wonderful feeling of victory. After three games at the state level, they have experienced defeat.

God kept us safe through many, many miles of travel and hours and hours of ball without serious injury. Another gift was the support and generosity of the citizens of Troy.

Thanks and gratitude goes out to everyone, but I especially want to acknowledge Kevin Pearcey and the Troy Messenger for outstanding coverage of the team, (thank goodness for cell phones!), Troy Parks and Recreation and Dan Smith, to our corporate sponsors a HUGE THANK YOU, to individuals that purchased raffle tickets (K.T., you’re the best), to fans Juliette and Alex Adams, Pepsi-Cola of Luverne, and Troy Snax. Thanks to Mike Amos for giving the team a special morning that at least one player talked about all day. Thanks to all the bosses that let employees off. D.K., you’re the King.

The patient coaching and leadership of Billy Hixon, Adam Register and Greg Carroll brought our boys to being one of the top seven teams in the state. A difficult accomplishment with 13 boys, assorted family members and friends, and fans that were hot, tired, road weary and usually wet and muddy.

13 boys have been treated like champions with gifts, newspaper and TV coverage, goodie bags, snacks and dinners

just doing what they love to do – playing ball. They may not have won the state title, but know that they worked hard and played hard. They represented their supporters with pride and gratitude. So until the next "Play Ball!", thank you for making this opportunity possible for them.

With thanks and gratitude,

The Floyd Family

Daniel Floyd No. 17, TNT 2002