Johnson impresses in few opportunities

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 2, 2003

The first day of contact drills did not reveal any lineup changes for the Troy State offense.

Returning starter Hansell Bearden ran most of the plays with the first team and against the first-team defense. Kacson Maddox took a significant amount of snaps, but new quarterback Franco Johnson saw only limited action in the offense-versus-defense 11-on-11 drills.

"That's based on practice," Troy State offensive coordinator Mark Fleetwood said. "Kacson had good practices Sunday and Monday and he deserved a chance to get some snaps."

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Troy State fielded six quarterbacks Wednesday, and all saw some action. Bearden was clearly the starter and completed some passes and impressed his coaches with some of his decision making.

However, since the offensive scheme this season will be completely different from last season's scheme, all quarterbacks have the same experience in the system.

The only problem is getting everyone a chance to practice.

"It is a challenge to get everyone some reps," Fleetwood said. "It's nice to have six quarterbacks, but it is hard to get them all in."

Johnson may have a slight advantage over his competition, though, because he ran a similar system while at Georgia Military College.

"It was the same offense we ran in junior college," Johnson said. "The only thing that is different is we were more aggressive on the pass routes."

Fleetwood described Johnson as a quick, athletic quarterback who might see some opportunities to run option plays.

Johnson showed off his arm during one of his few opportunities to play. He threw a perfect pass near the sideline that his receiver caught on his tiptoes.

"The best thing about this guy is he coachable," Fleetwood said. "When you talk to him, he doesn't moan or groan; he just says, 'Yes sir.' He will be much better in a couple of weeks than he is right now."

Bearden will start Saturday's scrimmage and Maddox and Johnson will split time in the backup role. Josh Russell and Bragg Knot will also get some playing time, but Matt Ray will not likely see any action in contact situations.

The scrimmage begins at 1 p.m. in Memorial Stadium. It is open to the public.