Tahlequah Daily Press

April 21, 2013

QB injuries highlight one-sided spring game

NSU football notebook

Sports Editor

— Four quarterbacks were penciled in on Northeastern State’s spring game rosters. Only two finished with a clean bill of healthy.

Not the way you want to close out spring drills.

That’s what NSU was faced with Saturday afternoon, after Green dominated White, 29-0, in the RiverHawks’ annual spring game at Doc Wadley Stadium.

Both Josh Cousins (for Green) and Thor Long (for White) endured shoulder-related injuries in the first half.

Long’s injury occurred on a scrum for a loose ball on a fumble in the first quarter. Cousins was tackled by defensive end, James Renfrow, on a scramble attempt behind the line of scrimmage in the second quarter.

Northeastern State head coach Kenny Evans said both backups to Johnny Deaton need to learn how to avoid those precarious situations.

“They have to learn to get down at times,” Evans said. “That’s part of the learning process at quarterback, and they haven’t had many opportunities to do that in college football.”

With both quarterbacks no longer available for the spring game, Evans and his coaching staff adjusted how the game was called, in relation to contact with the quarterbacks.

“It was tag on the quarterback, because I definitely didn’t want to lose anyone else,” Evans said. “The game is still football, so you have to do what you can to get people ready.”

No other injuries were apparent during the two-hour contest.

Cawyer claims bragging rights

Evans was merely an on-field coordinator during the spring game. He left head-coaching duties up to Logan Cawyer and James Brinkley.

Cawyer’s was Green’s coach and picked up all reaped all the boasting rights following the game.

“I’ll give Brinkley a little what-for here and there,” said Cawyer, a graduate assistant and a former NSU tight end.

As a coach on offense, he made sure to spread the love and credit his defenders for the shutout.

“Defense did great for us today,” Cawyer said. “Offense played good, and everybody played good.”

As for what’s in Cawyer’s future, he’s unsure at this point.

“I graduate in May,” he said, “so I’m just trying to look for jobs right now.”

Lot of yards, no points

In terms of total offense, White should have won the game. And it should have at least scored some points.

White ended the spring game with 63 plays for 229 yards, but two turnovers and a turnover on downs caused White not to score three different times in the red zone.

Green rattled off 45 plays and racked up 192 yards.

Big day for tight ends

With Ryan Dvorak and Stephen Huckaby both graduated off of last season’s team, tight end was a question mark for the RiverHawks heading into the 2013 season.

But if the spring game proved anything it’s that NSU should be just fine at that position.

Between both Green and White, tight ends — Kyle Matheson, Marco Renteria and Logan Andrews — combined for six catches for 62 yards. Matheson also had a scoring grab of two yards in the fourth quarter.

Players honored

At halftime of the spring game, players from last season’s team were honored for all their postseason accolades. Players who hauled in those honors were running back Joel Rockmore, linebacker Langston Jones, quarterback Johnny Deaton, wide receiver Jermaine Sherman, offensive linemen Ethan James and Michael Bowie, safety Victor Johnson, cornerback Vernon Jones and place kicker Drew Patton.

Coaches return

Greg Richmond and Mike Knoll are no longer on the NSU’s coaching staff, but both returned Saturday to take in the spring game festivities.

Knoll retired following NSU’s 2012 season, and Richmond opted to explore another career opportunity.