Stillwater News Press

Sports

July 12, 2012

Pioneers closing in on naming starting quarterback

STILLWATER, Okla. — With 49 days and counting until the first kickoff, the question that’s been on everybody’s mind may be answered this weekend in Springdale, Ark. — who will be the next quarterback of the Stillwater High School football team?

“The quarterback search is going well,” Stillwater coach Tucker Barnard said. “We’re getting after them and they’re getting better every day. Braxton Noble will probably get more reps than Taggart (Brown) tomorrow. He’s kind of leading things right now and doing really well. We’re going to play them both and see how they do in the competitions.

“They’re still battling, there’s no doubt,” Barnard said. “Braxton has been getting a few more reps here recently. I don’t know what that means just yet. It just means that he’s doing a great job for us and that we’re proud of him. We’re just going to keep seeing how both of them develop. Right now, if we had to put a No. 1 or No. 2, Braxton would be taking the first reps. As with anything, all that can change after this weekend.”

Naming a quarterback has been a priority for Barnard ever since Jerame Littell graduated in May, but after several seven-on-seven scrimmages over the summer Barnard said he’s seen improvements in all aspects of the passing game.

“It’s just a matter of kids understanding more about what we’re trying to do offensively,” Barnard said. “It’s just one segment of the game, it’s not the end all. ... It gives you an idea of where you are and what you need to improve on.”

With this year’s squad being so young, Barnard knew coming into the summer there was a lot of room for improvement. Now that the summer is winding down, Barnard said he’s not quite sure who has made the largest strides.

“I’ve been pleased with a lot of guys,” Barnard said. “It’s hard to say who has improved the most because a lot of guys are stepping up. A good example is Spencer Parsons. He’s really stepping up and emerging as a leader. He’s one of those guys that can do a lot of things for us — he’s got great hands, he’s a good route runner and he just has a good feel for the game.

“Along with (Parsons), Darian Williams is maybe the more obvious guy to being a major contributor. He’s kind of been nursing an injury, but he’s getting closer to full speed. We’re looking forward to seeing him continue to improve as well.”

Barnard said he’s even been impressed with how much the young linebacking corps has developed, saying that they have the potential to be just as good as last year’s linebackers.

“I’ve been real impressed with our young linebackers,” Barnard said. “Kaden Secrest, who is just a sophomore, is coming along and really understanding what we’re doing and emerging as a leader. That’s what you like to see, some of those young guys stepping up early in their careers.”

It’s been a summer of change for the Pioneers but with one final seven-on-seven tournament coming up over the weekend Barnard said his team has taken a huge step in the right direction.

“We’re a little limited after this weekend,” Barnard said. “We don’t get to do more individual camps. We don’t get any more team camps or competition. So after this weekend, what we really will focus more on is our strength and conditioning program. We’ll be lifting three days a week. We’ll be working out doing running and agility drills, things like that to make sure that we’re in the best shape we can be in.”

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