Sunday, November 19, 2017
Sports

Robinson QBs Darius Autry and Travis Forehand share the ball

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — It was the first major decision of Shawn Taylor's tenure, and the new Robinson coach never arrived at it. In football terms, the dude deferred. With stern conviction, he compromised.

"Don't need to (decide)," Taylor, seated in a corner desk in the coaches' portable, said assertively.

That wasn't the initial plan. All spring and summer, Taylor allowed juniors Darius Autry and Travis Forehand to compete for the right to replace all-state quarterback Zain Gilmore.

They shared snaps in practice, in 7-on-7 games, even Friday's preseason classic.

All the while, Taylor and his offensive staff — led by coordinator Craig Everhart — conferred: Do we go with Autry, the more mobile option with the leadership gene; or Forehand, the 6-foot-5 pocket passer?

Even after Friday's 51-6 preseason rout of Osceola, when both performed solidly, the jury remained hung. Sunday, Taylor announced he had broken the deadlock — sort of.

Both will continue playing. "The thing about it is, they both have assets that we can use in coach Everhart's offense," said Taylor, who alternated the two by series Friday.

"He runs his offense with the spread-option and play-action and the deep ball. One single guy can't do all the plays, but one of them can between the two. And to be honest, when you're a (defensive) coach it's a pain to prepare for two guys."

Though stark contrasts physically (Autry is 5-11), the two traveled parallel paths to this stage of their careers. Both shared snaps on the Knights' junior varsity in 2011 ("It was neck and neck the whole time on JV, too," Forehand says) before opting not to play in 2012.

Autry, brother of ex-Knights flag football star Deliah Autry, focused on baseball. Forehand, who also plays basketball (7.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg last winter), says he clashed with former Knights football coaches and acknowledged attitude problems of his own.

Taylor recruited both back.

"When we lost Zain (to graduation) there was nobody behind Zain," he said. "It's hard to win without a quarterback."

Friday, they finished a combined 9-for-14 for 176 yards and three TDs (two by Autry). Both performed well, Taylor said, but both also made communication errors.

"Neither one has outplayed the other for more than that last play," said Taylor, whose team hosts Sickles in Friday's regular-season opener.

"When I've looked at it, if you look at, 'What have you done for me lately?' like the last play, then you can pick one. But as soon as you look at a whole game or a whole practice … we end up back at the same spot. They're tied."

As a result, Taylor gladly subjects himself to the cynics who recycle the adage about really having no quarterback at all if you have to use two. Whether the adage applies in this case will be known in short order.

Robinson opens the season with Sickles, Plant, Jefferson and Armwood.

"I have heard that (saying), but I don't agree with that, because I know I'm a good quarterback and I know Darius is a good quarterback," Forehand said.

"We've been working, so there's no way we don't have a quarterback. … Our offense, with what we're trying to do, it just so happens we both fit in it."

Joey Knight can be reached at jknight@tampabay.com or on Twitter @JoeyHomeTeam.

Comments
Former Winston teammate: I was in car, nothing inappropriate happened

Former Winston teammate: I was in car, nothing inappropriate happened

Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby has released a statement in defense of Jameis Winston, saying he was in the back seat with the Bucs quarterback  during the Uber ride in 2016 and "nothing inappropriate" happened.The NFL is investigating an allegat...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Chip Kelly: Florida Gators’ next coach ‘will be really lucky’

Chip Kelly: Florida Gators’ next coach ‘will be really lucky’

With rumors swirling in Gainesville that Chip Kelly might be the Gators' next coach, ESPN asked him about it Sunday morning."Is this your way of firing me?" Kelly responded.Kelly, the former Oregon coach, eventually answered seriously. He didn't deny...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Player of the Week | Michael Penix Jr., Tampa Bay TechPenix, a Tennessee commit, has been good all season and it seems as if he’s getting even better in the playoffs. On Friday night against Palmetto in the Class 7A region semifinals, he was too ...
Published: 11/19/17
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

TAMPA — If you told coach Jon Cooper his team would open the season with wins in 15 of the first 19 games, well, "I’m not sure I can sit here and say I would have predicted that," he said Saturday morning.But the Lightning did just that to lead the N...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Ford EcoBoost 4003 p.m.NBCCFLSaskatchewan at Toronto1 p.m.ESPNewsEdmonton at Calgary4:30 p.m.ESPNewsCollege basketballMonmouth at Virginia1 p.m.FSFWomen: Maryland at Connecticut1:30 p.m.ESPNPuerto Rico Tip-Off, fifth pla...
Published: 11/18/17
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

This is what happens when you have the best record in the league: You get the best from the other team. The Islanders came out strong and the Lightning couldn’t match it, falling behind 4-0 early in the third. For the most part, the Lightning has bee...
Published: 11/18/17
No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

PHILADELPHIA — There were so many reasons for UCF coach Scott Frost to worry about his team’s focus. With a huge game against USF looming, playing an improving Temple team in a stadium where the empty seats outnumbered the filled ones by about a 3-1 ...
Published: 11/18/17
Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates during the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first: Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.Both figured to be highly productive NFL pla...
Published: 11/18/17
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Published: 11/18/17