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For QBs, together is how they like it

When Morgan State football coach Donald Hill-Eley talks about the team's "duet," he is referring to a pair of quarterbacks who seek to hit some extremely high notes this season.

"One sings bass [junior Bradshaw Littlejohn] and the other sings tenor [senior Lejominick Washington]," said Hill-Eley, who last season guided the Bears to their first winning record in 23 years.

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"Those guys know they're going to playing every other series or every two series. In some games, it'll be whoever has it going at the time."

This is ripe fodder for a dispute over playing time, but both players say there is no friction involved in the situation, which began in 2002 when the duo combined for 2,006 passing yards and 17 touchdowns while guiding Morgan's offense to an average of 30 points a game.

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"We're not worried about any quarterback controversy," said Washington, who passed for 902 yards and eight touchdowns. "This is my senior year, and I want to go out on top. Winning is what it's all about."

Morgan finally got a taste of that sensation after starting 1-4. The Bears came roaring through the stretch, winning six of their final seven games with only a 17-14 loss at Norfolk State interrupting the streak.

Now, record-setting tailback T.J. Stallings and New York Giants draftee Visanthe Shiancoe - two vital cogs on offense - have departed, so the slack must be picked up by new starters and the holdover quarterbacks.

Littlejohn, an imposing physical presence at 6 feet 3 and 258 pounds, was the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's Rookie of the Year after transferring from Michigan State, where he became disillusioned with the idea of playing fullback.

In addition to passing for more than 1,000 yards, he rushed for 672, barreling over opponents in the open field. Hill-Eley stationed him at tailback at times, giving the offense yet another dimension.

Washington is a poised veteran who always seems to select the best target for his passes.

"This means the defense has to get ready for two different offenses," Hill-Eley said. "Lejominick has a tendency to sit in the pocket and be patient longer under pressure while Bradshaw will vacate and take off running. The other team always has to worry about who's back there."

"I just sit back there and little longer and try to wait for the receivers to get open," Washington said. "Me, I just take off," the exuberant Littlejohn said.

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"They don't know how to prepare for us," added Washington, who's listed at 6-3 and 205 pounds. "Plus, we run a no-huddle so as soon as one play is over we're ready for the next one."

Littlejohn is just happy to be playing quarterback after being placed at various other positions, including linebacker, during his career to date.

"If the team needs me at tailback again I'll go back there," Washington said. "But, hopefully I'm done at every other place except quarterback."

More depth on defense has the quarterbacks excited about the overall team picture because if the Bears reduce their point allowance, the offense will be under less pressure.

But Morgan, picked third in the preseason MEAC poll, will not sneak up on opponents this time.

"We're no longer sleepers," Washington said. "Last year, in Black College Football, we started 10th from the bottom. This year, we're 10th, period."

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"It's good to be that way," Littlejohn added. "There's a lot more community support now and you hear people talking football on campus."

Based on seniority, Washington will probably be the starter Aug. 30 when the Bears kick off the season at Hughes Stadium against cross-town rival Towson. But Littlejohn will be looming on the sideline.

"We do the same things offensively with both quarterbacks," Hill-Eley said. "Based on his experience, Lejominick probably has a better understanding of the offense, but Bradshaw is such a threat. We'll just call the plays and let them go."


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