MONTICELLO — For the second straight season, Arkansas-Monticello has a quarterback problem. But for the first time, it is a problem that most college coaches would be thankful to have.
In the first four games, UAM (2-2, 2-2 Great American Conference) has utilized a three-quarterback system for its offense. Compared to last year where UAM lost three of their starting quarterbacks to injury before Week 2, it has definitely been a change of pace for the Weevils.
“It is good to have three guys that you feel comfortable with,” Jackson said. “It would be really nice for one of them to separate themselves a little bit.
“They all bring different abilities to what we are doing and they are all getting a good grasp of what we are doing.
“But what we really need is more of a guy stepping up and making great reads.”
While sophomore transfer Colton Morrison is named the starting quarterback, UAM has no problem working in backup quarterbacks Cody Trimble and Brett Courville, a freshman, in at the position.
“I think me and Colton play well together,” Trimble, a sophomore transfer from Highlands Community College, said. “I feel like if he is struggling to find a spark, then we can switch up and try to find one that way.”
In last week’s loss to Southwestern Oklahoma State, Trimble completed 17-of-25 passes for 140 yards with two touchdowns. Trimble came into the game with 5:43 left in the first quarter.
He led the Weevils to an 8-play scoring drive that was capped off by a 2-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Nixon. Nixon finished with five catches for 18 yards.
“I feel like we compliment each other well,” Trimble said of Morrison. “I think we play well with each other. When we can’t get a spark from one, we can get it from the other.”
Jackson said while he is thankful for the options at quarterback, he would like to have something a little bit more concrete for the starting role.
“It is somewhat frustrating,” Jackson said. “But it is just something we got to keep working till we get that answer.
“It is to a point where we want to be solid with one guy, we just need that person to come along.”
In three games this season, Trimble has completed 26-of-44 passes for 336 yards with three touchdowns. But he said he is not in any rush to be the starter for UAM.
“If that’s what the team needs me to be then that’s what I’ll be,” Trimble said. “For now, I’m just taking my role.
“It is whatever my coaches want me to do.”
Jackson did say he wasn’t sure who will start this week when UAM hosts Arkansas Tech (2-2, 2-1 GAC) on Saturday at Willis “Convoy” Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium beginning at 3 p.m.
“Right now we are just going through the week’s practice and see how it works out,” Jackson said. “Rep wise, because our tempo is so high, those guys do get quite a bit of reps during a practice.
“If it wasn’t such a high tempo, it probably is a little bit of a different story. The fact that they all get to work, it gives us a great opportunity to evaluate all of them.
“But at this time, we just don’t know.”
Morrison, who had four touchdown passes in a win over Southeastern Oklahoma State, has not thrown for a touchdown in the last two games. Morrison, a transfer from Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College, is 91-of-143 with three interceptions and five touchdowns.
“A three quarterback system is obviously different,” Trimble said. “Coach (Matt) Middleton has talked to us about it before.
“He said he knows its tough, but he thinks we have handled it well.
“We all get along great and it is tough at times to try to find a rhythm. I think we do it the best we can.”
In two games, Courville is 3-of-7 passing with one touchdown and also has 11 carries for 46 yards with one touchdown. Trimble said his running ability is what really separates him from the other two quarterbacks.
“Obviously, Brett is in there to run the ball,” Trimble said. “Cody and I are pretty much have the same package when we are in there.
“With Brett its more of a quick game and an option kind of thing.”
One guy who has adjusted well to the three-quarterback system has been wide receiver Skylar Scott. In last week’s loss, he had nine catches for 142 yards with one touchdown.
“All of them got different balls and they all throw the ball at different levels, different sizes and different heights,” Scott said. “One of them might get me the ball better than the other, it just depends. But it’s all good.”
So far, Scott has caught 24 passes for 345 yards with four touchdowns. He has caught a touchdown pass from Trimble and Courville and two from Morrison.
“It is not hard to get into a rhythm, because we get into a rhythm, it really gets us going,” Scott said. “Once we get rolling, it doesn’t matter who it is.
“Once we get clicking, we just go.”
Scott hopes he can continue the kind of success he has had for the rest of the season.
“It is very important for our team; for us to put up numbers like that,” Scott said. “It is also for me it’s very important. I want to try to get where everybody that plays football wants to get.”