The Wildcats closed spring practice with an open scrimmage at Shotwell Stadium on Thursday.
The main question that emerged from spring training is the same one the Wildcats faced last season. Who will the Wildcats play at quarterback? Last season, Zach Stewart and Clark Harrell started the season sharing time at the position. As the season progressed, Mitchell Gale overtook them both and started the final seven games of the season. Yet, the question seems still to be unanswered; Gale entered spring as the starter, but Stewart looked impressive in both scrimmages.
“This spring was really effective,” Stewart said. “Last year, everyone was new, and this year, everyone was back and just fit those pieces that we were missing in the fall and just got more comfortable with each other.”
The defense has played well, led by Aston Whiteside, who has had the best offseason and spring of his career. Fred Thompson replaced defensive end Nick Jones, who gave up football to concentrate on track and field. Thompson has made a smooth transition to his new position.
ACU will be seeking to fill holes in the secondary this summer; specifically, they’ll be looking at transfers or other young players to step up and fill these positions.
“The biggest thing is we have to improve in the secondary. We got some young players that need to continue to grow to get ready to play,” said Coach Jason Johns. “We are looking to have a good summer in terms of working out and running.”
In the first scrimmage, the defense held the offense scoreless while scoring two touchdowns off turnovers. Blake Rudd and Eric Edwards had an interception each that they returned for a touchdown.
In last Thursday’s scrimmage, the offense bounced back, moving the ball more effectively and scoring a couple of touchdowns.
The Wildcats will be ready to take the field Sept. 4 when they travel to take on Washburn University in Topeka, Kan. The athletes are hoping to settle on a quarterback by then.
“Hopefully, there can be one guy that can take over the whole thing and lead the team for the season, but it is still wide open,” Stewart said. “All three of us had really good springs. We are looking to go into the summer and fall camp, and hopefully someone can establish themselves from the rest of them.”