New coaches, new system, and most importantly, a new quarterback this season for the Eagles leaves many questions unanswered going in. Will spring practice help to clear some of these up?
In is offensive Coordinator Ricky Bustle and the new offensive staff.
Coach Johnson promised nothing would change with the offensive style for the Eagles, and why would they want to change? The Eagles have put up incredible numbers and loads of points in the past four years, and the new staff hopes to continue those trends.
Whoever the new QB is, there are certainly huge shoes to fill.
Fortunately, the cupboard is not bare. In fact, There could be up to five candidates for the starting job when the fall rolls around. Newest signees Anthony Alford and Kyle Sloter will get a fair shake in the fall, and Alford could push for a start even as a true freshman.
For the sake of this spring, however, we'll look at three candidates who appear to all be ready to contend for the start.
The quarterback with the most experience in the system is junior Chris Campbell. Campbell is a very smart QB with an accurate arm and surprising mobility. At 6'4, he has good height as well.
Perhaps his greatest asset is his football savy. He is very good at reading defenses, according to coaches, and he has arm strength similar to Austin Davis. While not the most gifted athlete, he does have the ability to scramble if necessary.
Because of his experience and all he's learned behind Davis, don't be surprised to see Campbell with the lead out of spring practice.
Though he is starting to look more like a linebacker, Arsenio Favor is a sophomore who does possess the ability to run as well as throw. With a cannon arm, Favor has always impressed with his arm strength.
He has proven he can run as well. Named the #2 QB behind Davis last year, Favor can call his own number to pick up short yards if necessary. The major question for Favor is going to be accuracy. Can he develop enough consistency to make the necessary throws in traffic on a regular basis?
If he can prove this, he'll be the man to beat in the fall.
Perhaps the most upside, however, is redshirt freshman Ricky Lloyd. If anyone seemed to be hand picked to run the offense for Coach Fedora, it was Lloyd.
A student of the game, you would often find Lloyd on the sideline last season soaking up as much as he could. Lloyd has all the tools, he can run and throw, and is a natural at running the spread offense.
In fact, he was one to break many records during his time as a senior for Concord, CA High School. His only question mark is experience.
He impressed in fall camp last year, and had even Austin Davis saying that Lloyd would go on to break all of his records at Southern Miss. The biggest question for him is how will he respond to a new system and new coaches?
If Lloyd can pick up the new offense and prove he is ready, then he is my choice to be the next QB for the Eagles.
Bottom line, all three are in the running. Spring practice, beginning today, will determine the depth chart, and it might even carry over into fall practice.
The good news is all three are smart, demonstrate leadership qualities, and have an edge to them. If I were picking today, I'd put the depth chart like this:
Stay tuned, it is going to be a fun spring.