The competition to open the season as Morgan State’s starting quarterback has come down to two men.
With Seth Higgins still recuperating from offseason shoulder surgery, redshirt senior Robert Council and redshirt junior Moses Skillon split reps with the first offense during a scrimmage at Hughes Stadium Wednesday.
First-year coach Lee Hull confirmed that Council and Skillon are battling for the right to start at Eastern Michigan on Aug. 30.
“It’s down to Moses and Robert,” said Hull, a former wide receivers coach at Maryland. “As soon as Seth gets to 100 percent, he’ll have his opportunity to compete for the job. I’m not counting him out. We’ll see how he progresses.”
Council played slightly better than Skillon in the scrimmage. He completed 7 of 12 passes for 85 yards, was sacked just once, and directed two scoring drives in which the offense produced a 23-yard touchdown run by sophomore fullback Marcolm Banks and a 33-yard field goal by redshirt sophomore kicker Chris Moller.
Council downplayed the notion that his performance might have given him the edge.
“We are all competing for the quarterback position,” he said. “Coach hasn’t named the starter yet. We’re all getting the same amount of reps. Whatever happens, happens. I’ve got faith in all four of us – me, Seth, Moses and [redshirt freshman] Chris Clack Jr. Whoever gets the job will get the job done. All that matters is that we win.”
Skillon completed 5 of 10 passes for 48 yards and also helmed a drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown plunge by redshirt sophomore running back Herb Walker Jr. But Skillon also threw two interceptions and was sacked three times.
“I did all right,” he said. “I could have done better. A few tipped balls, a couple picks. I’ve just got to go through my progressions a little faster and not turn the ball over.”
Hull said he liked how Council and Skillon were progressing, but said he wasn’t ready to name a starter.
“We’re just going to watch the film and evaluate it first,” Hull said. “I don’t want to jump to any conclusions. [Skillon’s] interceptions could have been because of what the receivers did. So I don’t want to jump to any conclusions right now. We’ll watch the film and make a decision.”
** Nose tackle Micale Allen has received extensive playing time with the first defense, and the redshirt senior might be worthy of a more permanent role on that unit. He finished with four tackles including two for losses and one sack. After recording 19 tackles and 1½ sacks last season while backing up Demarco Bisbee, Allen said he hopes he made an impression with the coaches.
“It was pretty good, but there’s always room for improvement,” he said. “There’s always room to get better. I think we as a unit played well, but there are a lot of things we still have to work on.”
** The defense as a whole appeared to have found its footing quicker than the offense. The unit posted six sacks and caused four turnovers. Senior strong safety Nate Ayers, junior cornerback Delonta Hall and freshman cornerback Anthony Fludd each had an interception, and freshman middle linebacker Damare’ Whitaker forced and recovered a fumble.
** On the flipside, the offense’s first five drives ended in three sacks, Ayers’ interception, and Whitaker’s strip and fumble recovery. The unit did score its two touchdowns and one field goal in three consecutive series, but also wrapped up the scrimmage with Fludd’s interception and a sack by sophomore defensive end Noel Liverpool.
“There are a lot of good things we can learn from,” Hull said of the scrimmage. “Offensively, we did not start off fast, but we ended fast. We had two touchdowns and a field goal at the end. The defense started off fast, but they’ve got to learn how to finish. So there are good lessons there.”