Beyond the Gridiron:

Backup quarterbacks must be prepared to help the team

Largo’s backup quarterback Russell Hyde, 16, plays catch with starting quarterback Ryan Eppes during a break in the action during Friday night’s game against Lakewood High School.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Largo’s backup quarterback Russell Hyde, 16, plays catch with starting quarterback Ryan Eppes during a break in the action during Friday night’s game against Lakewood High School.

The backup quarterback has one of the toughest jobs on a football team. He practices all week with the expectation that he will get limited, if any, time on the field during the game. He spends the majority of Friday nights just beyond the gridiron, watching from the sideline as the starting quarterback takes most of the snaps.

But then again, the backup quarterback can be the game changer.

If the starter goes down, he is expected to step up and run the offense as if he's been playing the entire season. Usually, the backup quarterback's playing time is predicated on the vulnerability of the starter.

But it is a role that Largo High's Russell Hyde, a junior, takes seriously.

He understands the importance of helping Ryan Eppes warm up before the game. Plus, as the holder for the field goal kicker, Hyde does get on the field from time to time.

But his love for the game makes the practicing and watching the game from the sideline worth it.

"I love football," said Hyde, 16. "Even if I don't become starting quarterback next year, I will get bigger so I can be a linebacker or on defense because I love hitting people.

"I'll still be part of the game next year if I don't make it as quarterback. I'm willing to switch positions because I love the game so much."

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at 445-4174 or dalee@sptimes.com.

About this series

Every week during the regular season, Beyond the Gridiron will take a look at the Packers football program from different perspectives. This week, we check out the backup quarterback, who has to be ready to lead his team at a moment's notice.

Backup quarterbacks must be prepared to help the team 10/21/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 13, 2008 11:59am]

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