Monday, April 20, 2009

Radcliff, Rifenbury battle for backup quarterback gig

Issue date: 4/20/09

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

Whenever redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Radcliff was not on the field navigating the offense, he could be found by starting quarterback Dan LeFevour, taking in whatever he could.

Radcliff and sophomore Derek Rifenbury ended the spring portion of their competition for the backup job by taking turns leading the offense up and down the field. Head coach Butch Jones liked what he saw from the sidelines during the position battle.

"I saw some good things and I thought for the most part they did a decent job taking control of the offense and letting the team know who is in charge," he said, noting he would have to look at the film to make an absolute assessment of the two.

The duo took the reins from LeFevour after the first drive and tied the defense 29-29 at the end of regulation.

Radcliff went 13-for-19 for 149 yards and Rifenbury went 7-for-10 for 42 yards. Both quarterbacks took plays from Jones, offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian and even young kids in the stands.

Early in the first quarter, Radcliff connected with junior wide receiver Sean Skergan downfield for the biggest gain of the game. The pass split the seam between the two safeties and Skergan broke a couple tackles to get in the red zone.

Radcliff said it was good to take snaps in an atmosphere different from a practice setting.

"It was finally nice to get out on the field, in live game situations, in front of fans and compete," he said. "I felt good and it was a great experience."

The play was called in from the stands, where Jones was moving around throughout the first quarter.

"It felt great to get on the field," Rifenbury said. "All the spring practice and sitting behind (LeFevour) for two years, it was great to get out there and play."

Admittedly, Rifenbury wanted to throw some touchdown passes, but he said he executed the offense well and did his job.

LeFevour, once a nervous freshmen playing in the spring game himself, thought both quarterbacks carried themselves well.

"Honestly, they did a great job," he said. "They threw the ball around well and once they got hit for the first time they settled in well and guided the offense."

After the game was over, both Radcliff and Rifenbury competed in a one-on-one drill, with Rifenbury winning.

Rifenbury said Radcliff had his number earlier in the spring.

"That was great," he said. "It was nice to be able to get him back."

No comments: