BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
If there was ever a time that I learned how valuable a backup quarterback was, the year was 1979.
The Detroit Lions had high hopes going into the season with Gary Danielson locked in as their starter. When the Lions lost Danielson and backup Joe Reed to injuries before the first regular season game, they were forced to use ninth round draft choice the late Jeff Komlo out of the University of Delaware.
Detroit finished the 1979 season with a 2-14 mark and a season filled with hope turned into a disaster.
While everything seems to be going fine with FAU quarterback Rusty Smith, Coach Howard Schnellenberger is pleased with his backup signal caller. Should Smith get sidelined, FAU has redshirt junior Jeff Van Camp as its "Insurance Policy"
The 6-5, 210 pound native of Gulf Breeze, Fla., saw action in three games in 2007 and four games in 2008. Much of his playing time occurred when the Owls were getting routed and Schnellenberger was looking to get him experience.
During spring practice, Van Camps performance reinforced the confidence his coach has in him as the Owls attempt to reach their third consecutive bowl game.
“In the spring game, Rusty was pretty good, Jeff was probably better and the other two were struggling,” Schnellenberger said. “I like the progress of Jeff Van Camp. He's had a very good spring and we know now we can win games if he were pressed into action.”
Van Camp said he's prepared to take over if necessary and just wants to be a major contributor.
“I feel I've done a good job this off-season learning the offense better,” Van Camp said. “I'm always excited about getting in the game but once I get in there, I'll try to do my best to get it done. I'm just trying to get better so I can start in 2010. My primary goal sir is to start in 2010 and if the coaches call on me then I'll do my best and be there to get it done for them. When I do get in the game I just want to make sure there is no drop off from Rusty to myself, keep the game going and keep winning for the team.”
The History major said he's learned this spring to “Be a little bit more confident on the field, know the offense, just have fun and just make the plays. The only goals we have as a team this year is we're playing some pretty good teams so we just want to go out there and do our best and hopefully, we can win.”
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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