Behind Caldwell at QB, UWA lacks experience
There’s Kyle Caldwell, the 2013 Gulf South Conference offensive player of the year, a Harlon Hill Trophy candidate and a preseason All-American. Behind him are four quarterbacks who have one college completion between them.
Caldwell is poised to break every University of West Alabama passing and total offense record this season, records previously held by current Tiger head coach Brett Gilliland and currently owned by UWA tight ends coach Deon Williams. In three seasons, the senior from Dadeville, Ala., has amassed 6,621 total yards, 5,284 passing yards and connected on 51 touchdown passes.
Jeremiah Chandler, LaBaron Anthony, Desmond Huntley and Harry Satterwhite have combined to attempt one pass, completing it for 12 yards. That completion belongs to Chandler, a junior from Stringer, Miss., with very limited playing time. Anthony, Huntley and Satterwhite are all true freshmen.
“Obviously it’s a touchy situation, but what we are working on is figuring out which of the next guys is the next guy and bring him on,” Gilliland said following day three of fall camp. “Then, if what we don’t want to happen does happen, we will have a plan and a package for that.”
Caldwell is taking it in stride and is quietly confident while relishing his role as a mentor both on the field and in the quarterbacks meeting room.
“All these new guys have come in with a great attitude and are working hard,” Caldwell said. “When they need to ask a question we are always here to answer, and they are asking the right questions.
“They are struggling at times, then at other times they are making great plays and great reads,” Caldwell said. “They just have to get in and play a little more. That’s the only thing holding them back.”
Wednesday was the first day in shoulder pads for the Tigers and Gilliland said that the new feel of the pads and the heat caused not just the inexperienced quarterbacks, but the whole team, to have a mid-practice letdown.
“That is the kind of stuff we have to learn to fight through and I felt like we did toward the end and finished with high energy,” Gilliland said. “All of the freshmen (quarterbacks) are running the same right now, all at the same level.
“When we put the shoulder pads on today and had defensive guys flying around them it showed that these are their first college practices,” Gilliland said. “Still, those guys have poise and good command. I’m not worried that they can do it. It’s our job to get them there quicker.”