Coaches aren’t much for in-season changes, but sometimes they encourage competition.
It’s especially true at the quarterback position, often the most important on the field.
Southern coach Jason Rollins said last week's transition from Ladarius Skelton to Bubba McDaniel against Mississippi Valley State was smooth, and that didn’t surprise him at all.
McDaniel got the word last Monday and had plenty of reps to prepare. When he started for an injured Skelton before the Miles College game Sept. 11, he found out on gameday. The best part was the absence of friction, which can happen with such a move.
“The team reacted well,” Rollins said. “They have a lot of respect for Bubba. There weren’t any problems at all. It wasn’t the first time, so it wasn’t a big shocker. We trust him.”
And why not? In two games, McDaniel has completed 28 of 43 passes for 379 yards and six TDs without an interception. Skelton is 21 of 32 for 292 yards and three TDs and three interceptions. McDaniel’s quarterback rating is 185.20 to Skelton’s 155.46 — and most importantly, the Jaguars have won both of McDaniel’s starts.
“It’s a great feeling; I thank God,” McDaniel said after the game. “I don’t think about it; I just go out and play. I’m just worried about winning and leading this team.”
In fairness to Skelton, he started against Southern's two toughest opponents thus far. But McDaniel displays better pocket presence and overall poise. He was accurate Sunday (18 of 26 with two drops) and wasn’t sacked. His TD passes went to five different players and his completions to seven.
“He goes through his reads, like a field general,” said tight end Ethan Howard, who caught four for 61 yards, including an 18-yard TD. “Bub did great. It was good to see him do what he’s doing. He’s been waiting a while.”
Rollins said there will still be a role for Skelton, who has been slowed by a bruised knee, and that McDaniel can get better.
“We want him to continue to build on it,” Rollins said. “This was his second start. Hopefully he will take another step at Texas Southern.
“Even though we had an efficient day offensively, there were some things we left out there. A missed assignment here or there or we would have put more points on the board.”
Recruit the Boot
Rollins said the Southern staff is using the off week to fulfill a promise he made the day he was hired and hit the in-state recruiting trail.
“This Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we’ll be coming to a stadium near you,” Rollins said. “Every coach will be at a game to recruit future Jags. We’re going to scout the state hard.
“When we took, over we said we were going to make an effort to recruit in-state, inside out. Last week, we were at eight games in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. This week, we have nine Baton Rouge games and four New Orleans games.”