Two quarterbacks, no problem at Morgan State

On Colleges

September 24, 1996|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,SUN STAFF

All the pieces seemed to be in place for a quarterback controversy at Morgan State. There was just one hitch.

The Bears wouldn't cooperate.

Coach Stump Mitchell repeated after a lackluster 13-6 win over Bethune-Cookman last weekend that senior Otis Covington would remain the starter, even though the offense kept bogging down. And even though transfer Willie McGirt (Patterson) was available.

McGirt stood on the sidelines at Hughes Stadium that afternoon with a football in his hand, offering support to Covington when he came off the field. But the only player besides Covington who took any snaps was sophomore Justin Washington (0-for-2, one interception).

McGirt got into his first game on Saturday, but only briefly, completing a 20-yard pass and rushing three times for 7 yards. There was no need for Covington to sit when he was in the midst of his finest game as a collegiate quarterback.

Covington again led Morgan in rushing with 80 yards on 16 carries. But unlike the first two games, which the Bears split, he hurt the opposition most with his arm, completing 23 of 41 passes for 287 yards, a school-record-tying four touchdowns, and no interceptions in Morgan's 34-28 overtime win over Liberty.

"We're never in a bad situation when we call a play with Otis," Mitchell said after the Bethune-Cookman game. "McGirt is going to be a good quarterback and he's going to get his opportunity to play and Otis will be playing receiver at some point and time, but I think that's going to happen after we get this offense going. I can see every game we play, for the most part, that Otis Covington is going to be starting at quarterback."

Covington, who was 10-for-26 for 136 yards and one interception against Bethune-Cookman, has taken the speculation in stride. Ever since McGirt's arrival from Virginia Tech three weeks ago, Covington has pondered the idea of moving back to receiver, where he played for three seasons and tied an NCAA record last year with a 99-yard reception. His preference is to remain the quarterback, but his only concern is winning.

"Willie and I are pretty close," he said. "The coaches made the situation very clear. If he progresses well and I don't do well and he steps in, so be it. Basically, we're trying to win, and if he develops and steps up, fine. I'll move out to receiver. I wouldn't feel it was a demotion. It depends on the circumstances under which it happens.

"I'm about helping this team win. If they want me to play receiver, or block, or whatever, then that's what I'm going to do."

Stepping up

Johns Hopkins' 12-7 season-opening loss at Fairleigh Dickinson-Madison two weeks ago wasn't a total dud: The Blue Jays found a quarterback.

Freshman Wayne Roccia was 21 of 38 for 189 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. And he followed up his debut by throwing for 126 yards and three touchdowns -- all to Mark Guzzo -- in Saturday's 42-7 rout of Swarthmore.

Salisbury's finest

Salisbury State will induct four new members into its athletic Hall of Fame on Oct. 11, including current assistant football coach Robb Disbennett, a four-year starter at quarterback who led the Sea Gulls to their first two playoff berths and earned All-America honors as a senior. He finished his career at Salisbury State with 10 passing records.

Also being inducted are Harry Winters (1975), Salisbury's all-time leading scorer in men's soccer with 54 goals and 113 points; Josie Harper (1983), a two-time MVP on the basketball team who was an All-American as a senior and totaled 1,293 points and 914 rebounds; and John Berens (1982), a two-time MVP on the basketball team who ranks fourth in career points (1,736) and fifth in rebounds (934).

Miscellaneous

Senior point guard Tori Moten has left the UMBC women's

basketball team for personal reasons. Moten averaged 5.7 points and 4.3 assists last season and ranked fourth on UMBC's all-time assist list with 322. Johns Hopkins junior soccer forward Eric West broke out of an early slump with two goals against Cabrini. The Blue Jays' all-time leading scorer had no goals and two assists through the first three games. The Salisbury State women's soccer team was 6-0 for the first time in the program's history before losing Sunday. Karen Crowley, daughter of former Oriole Terry Crowley, got a hat trick in Villa Julie's 4-3 field hockey win over Wilson College. Goucher's volleyball team broke school records for kills (75) and assists (66) in a 3-2 victory over Scranton.

Pub Date: 9/24/96

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