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Thrasher takes step toward winning Bucs’ QB job

By Joe Avento • Aug 19, 2019 at 12:50 AM

JOHNSON CITY — The quarterback situation for the East Tennessee State football team is starting to clear itself up.

Chance Thrasher, a graduate transfer from Coastal Carolina, appears to have moved to the forefront in the competition to become the Bucs’ new signal-caller.

Cade Weldon, a transfer from Miami who many thought would earn the job, is out of action with an injury and isn’t expected back anytime soon.

Thrasher ran the first-team offense in Saturday night’s scrimmage at Greene Stadium, and while he didn’t get the team into the end zone until the goal-line drill, he did enough to impress coach Randy Sanders.

“I thought he did a lot of good things,” Sanders said. “I think of all the guys, he probably improved this week like I would hope he would. I was a little disappointed in the progress a couple of the other guys made. Not that they’re not making progress, but I expected to see bigger steps and I expected to see bigger steps faster.”

Thrasher completed 14 of 22 passes for 111 yards and was the only one of the candidates for the starting job to not throw an interception.

“I thought he’s had a good week and I thought he did some good things tonight,” Sanders said. “He’s far from perfect, but I kind of challenged him on a few things and honestly he’s stepped up and done some good things.

“I don’t know that we’re completely finished with the competition. I don’t know if we’re completely finished with making that decision, but I think we’re definitely closer than we were last week at this time.”

Thrasher graduated from Coastal Carolina last December. His career with the Chanticleers was marred by shoulder and knee injuries that cost him almost two entire seasons after he redshirted his freshman year in 2015. He was the 47th-ranked quarterback prospect in the country by ESPN coming out of Peachtree High School in Suwanee, Georgia.

Weldon has been out of practice after suffering an undisclosed injury.

“It’s going to be a while,” Sanders said. “It’s not very promising at this point.”

DEFENSE

Sanders said prior to the scrimmage that he expected his defense to be ahead of the offense, and that was the case Saturday night, even though many of the starters on both sides of the ball saw limited action.

During the main portion of the scrimmage, only one touchdown was scored — on a short screen pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Trey Mitchell to redshirt freshman tight end Zeb Petty.

“We still have a lot of young people out there trying to learn what they’re doing, but the good thing is everybody’s out there playing hard, everybody’s picking it up fast,” defensive end Nasir Player said. “So it’s exciting. We have a lot of energy, a lot of new faces. I’m excited to see what we can do this year.”

KICKING THEMSELVES

The Bucs are trying to replace JJ Jerman, the reliable and record-

setting kicker who graduated.

They tried six field goals and made one — a 24-yard effort from Tyler Keltner. Keltner and Logan Bowers combined to miss from 38, 41, 41, 32 and 45 yards.

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Stephen Scott and MJ Woods had interceptions before Tyler Murphy ended the night with a diving pick on a long pass.

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