Toledo keeps open mind about Tulane's quarterback
Monday, August 13, 2007
By Pierce W. Huff
Tulane Coach Bob Toledo said he has been asked the question "too many times" from Green Wave fans from Shreveport to Uptown and everywhere in between.
"Coach, who is going to be your starting quarterback this season?"
And each time Toledo, an affable fellow with a quick wit and dry sense of humor, gives the same answer: "I haven't decided yet. I'm going to wait and give them an opportunity."
With that in mind, junior Scott Elliott, sophomore Anthony Scelfo and redshirt freshman Kevin Moore, took the field Sunday to make their case to be the starting quarterback in Tulane's second practice under the sweltering sun at the Westfeldt Practice Facility.
Elliott worked with the first team for the second day in a row, but that doesn't mean that the starting quarterback job is his.
"He's got to prove to me that he's the guy, but he's the junior and he does have the most experience," Toledo said.
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dan Dodd said the team will go through the first seven to 10 days of practice before releasing the depth chart.
"The way I look at it is that we've got a 1A, a 1B and a 1C, and there's really nobody at the A, the B or the C," Dodd said.
But Elliott said he likes his chances of being Tulane's starting quarterback for its Sept. 8 season opener against Mississippi State at the Superdome.
"Without being cocky, I think I'm the guy," he said.
Elliott does have an endorsement from a key player on Tulane's offense, star running back Matt Forté.
"I'm really confident in Scott, because I came in with Scott, and I've seen him play all three years I've been here, and Scott has the most experience of all three quarterbacks," Forté said. "If I wanted to go into battle in any game, and if I had to pick any one of them, I would pick Scott."
None of the three did much to help his cause Sunday. All the players had their share of bad throws, poor decisions and missed timing.
"I don't think we threw the ball with a lot of accuracy today," Toledo said.
Dodd said each of the quarterbacks started slowly in workouts before improving in the team period midway through the practice.
Here is the best way to handicap the three quarterbacks: One has experience (Elliott); one is a two-sport star with tremendous mobility (Scelfo); and one is a young player who probably has the strongest arm (Moore).
Dodd said Elliott is a good manager who gets the team into a right play from a wrong play. Dodd said Scelfo is a guy who can make things happen. Dodd said Moore does things brilliantly on one play and then not so brilliantly on the next.
Elliott played in six games last season, completing 13 of 30 passes for 132 yards and one touchdown. He started three games and played in seven games in 2005, completing 48 of 92 passes for 515 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions.
"He's started in college football, and that's always a big factor," Dodd said.
Scelfo, who also plays on the Tulane baseball team, played in four games last season, completing three of six passes for 31 yards and had one interception.
Moore sat out last season, and he said he's happy to be on the field practicing.
"I'm out here trying to make the most of my reps," he said.
Scelfo said he has picked up Tulane's new West Coast offense well.
"I think I fit this offense well, because it's all about timing and getting rid of the ball," he said.
And Elliott is just trying to keep on working with the first team.
Elliott said he isn't concerned about what Scelfo and Moore do to try to win the position.
"I can't worry about anything," he said. "I just have to go out and play."
FIRST FIGHT: The Green Wave had its first fight during workouts when senior defensive tackle Avery Williams got into a shoving match with sophomore Tyler Rice during an offensive and defensive line drill.
"They're getting irritable already," Toledo said. "That's good. I like it. You know I get nervous when we don't have any fights, but we'll calm them down."
FASHION STATEMENT: The Green Wave's centers, Rice, senior Aryan Barto, freshman Dhamari Thomas and junior Michael Parenton, each wore last season's game pants instead of shorts to help them with the center-quarterback exchanges.
BEST CATCH: Redshirt freshman Casey Robottom, who played at St. Charles Catholic, made an over-the-shoulder catch on a long pass from Moore during team drills.
INJURIES UPDATE: Toledo said there were no injuries, although a few players were pulled out because they were starting to cramp.
"We're in pretty good shape," he said.
THEY SAID IT: "Play when you're tired. You're always tired in the fourth quarter." -- Dodd, yelling to the offensive players during period 20 of the 24-period practice.
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