Loyola's Evans not afraid to lead QB will take a hit to motivate team

October 01, 1992|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Staff Writer

Loyola quarterback Bill Evans cradled the ball against his chest and followed the lead of his blockers.

With McDonogh's defenders closing in on him near the sidelines, Evans could have run out of bounds -- as many quarterbacks do -- to avoid being hit.

Instead, Evans went after more yards, crashing into a McDonogh defender.

That play, which occurred during second-ranked Loyola's 30-7 victory over the Eagles on Saturday, exemplifies Evans' straight-ahead style.

It's also what makes him the team leader in the eyes of Dons coach Joe Brune.

"I like to put my nose into things," said Evans, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior. "That's part of a leadership role. If I step out of bounds on that play, the team might think: 'Will Billy suck it up when he needs to?' By doing something like that, it shows I'm in it just as much as they are. No one is more important than anyone else."

Evans, however, has played a very important part in Loyola's success the past three seasons, in which the Dons have gone 18-4-1.

His statistics -- 176 yards passing and 99 yards rushing in three games -- are not overwhelming. But Evans' value to the Dons (3-0) transcends his numbers.

"Since Bill has been at Loyola, we have been blessed with some good runners, so that's where the emphasis has been," said Brune, in his 26th season. "Yet, in passing situations, he often comes through with good passes. He might only complete a few passes during a game, but they usually are in critical situations or a big play."

Evans, an All-Metro honorable mention selection last season, had a big passing game in Loyola's season-opening, 34-20 victory over St. John's of D.C., a team Brune said was "daring us to throw the ball."

On the first play of the game, Evans completed a 24-yard pass. Two plays later, he threw for a 48-yard gain to the 2-yard line, and ran in for a touchdown on the next play. Overall, Evans completed five of nine for 146 yards and two touchdowns.

"The success of any kind of offense depends upon the execution of the plays, and the quarterback is the key," Brune said. "Execution and ball-handling are important, and he's very good at that."

Evans, who is being recruited by Division I colleges for lacrosse, is also good at motivating the team.

"Sometimes, you need to kick somebody in the butt. Sometimes, you need to say, 'Good job, get 'em back next time,' " Evans said.

Said Brune: "He's never afraid to speak his mind. Sometimes, people don't like what he's saying. If someone on our team does something he doesn't think is right, he'll let them know immediately."

Evans said he developed his no-nonsense attitude as a sophomore, when he was thrust into the role of starting quarterback.

"Being able to step in and play as a sophomore, I had to establish I wasn't going to sit back and take anything," Evans said."

On occasion, Evans' personality has clashed with Brune's low-key disposition.

"Sometimes, I think it's best if you don't call a whole lot of attention to yourself," Brune said. "If I were an opposing coach, I'd describe him as cocky, and I'd tell my players to knock some of that cockiness out of him.

"At times, I wish he'd keep his mouth shut. We're constantly at each other about that. By the same token, things are never dull when he's around."

Despite their philosophical differences, Evans said his relationship with Brune is a good one.

"Mr. Brune and I have an open relationship," Evans said. "I've always been honest with him, and he's always been honest with me. He's also my college counselor. When something's bothering me, I know I can talk to him."

One topic Evans has discussed with Brune is his desire to play defense. Evans played at safety in one game this season.

Said Evans: "I don't get hit or get to hit that often as a quarterback. When I get a chance to mix it up, I like to throw my weight around a bit. I think I can take whatever people can dish out to me."

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