Quarterback battle heats up

MONTICELLO — Even though it was a controlled scrimmage, Arkansas-Monticello football coach Hud Jackson got an early idea of what to expect and what needs to be tweaked on his team.

On Friday, UAM had its first scrimmage of the spring season and it lasted 115 plays, which impressed the second-year coach.

“We still have some guys we want to look at, but this first scrimmage we wanted to see what we had in our first two-deep guys,” he said. “It felt like a lot of good things happened.

“Offensively, I thought we moved the ball really well, and I thought the defense had some stops at crucial times.”

The Boll Weevils had five practices before Friday’s scrimmage. UAM’s next scrimmage is scheduled at 4 p.m. on April 6, and the spring game is 7 p.m. on April 13.

One of the key positions that will be put under the microscope is one of the most important one on the field — quarterback. Jacob Lennox, a freshman, was the first quarterback on the field on Friday.

Lennox, who has played professional baseball since college before coming to UAM, had a three-and-out in the first possession before throwing two touchdowns and running one in for another score.

“Jacob’s a mature young man and he has played baseball since he graduated high school … and that’s important,” Jackson said. “He doesn’t get shook up.”

While Lennox said he felt good out on the field, he still knows the battle for the No. 1 spot will rage on through fall camp.

“I am feeling the field alright and I need to work on a few things,” he said. “All three of us are pushing each other pretty hard and we have a long summer head of us. It will be a fight to the finish.”

Lennox had the offensively play of the game when he hit T.J. Heck for a 60-yard touchdown. Heck did have to stop and wait for the ball.

“I saw it come open early and I saw the safety bite,” he said. “I knew I was going deep and the ball kind of came out slippery, which is why he had to slow down on the ball.”

The other quarterback who saw the field on Friday was Hunter Leppert, who is working back from a torn ACL that happened more than five months ago. While Leppert has not been cleared for contact, according to Jackson, he still participated in the scrimmage and the whistle was blown before he was hit.

Leppert, who is a redshirt freshman because of his injury, did not throw a touchdown and on three straight possessions midway through the scrimmage. He threw and interception and was “sacked” on third down on back-to-back possessions.

“I am sure he is a little apprehensive and it will take some time for that,” Jackson said of Leppert’s performance. “Hunter’s young and he can still grow and he is learning to make some better decisions and he has time.”

Tyler Copeland is one of the quarterbacks vying for the starting spot, but we held out of the scrimmage due to a case of strep throat.

Even though Lennox had a good scrimmage, Jackson said the competition is far from over.

“I am not going to speculate on that and it’s going to be open until the first playing date,” he said.