Dick's Camp Confident About First Start

FAYETTEVILLE -- Steve Dick didn't have any advice for his son, Casey Dick, when he called Sunday night to tell dad he would be making his first collegiate start for Arkansas against South Carolina on Saturday.

Neither did Allen (Texas) High coach Tom Westerburg. They believe the true freshman quarterback doesn't need any advice.

"It's really hard to get him upset or shook up," Steve Dick said. "He's pretty level headed and even keeled. He handles everything with a grain of salt. That's the way he has always been and that's why we've always tried to let him handle it on his own."

"We never had him under as much pressure as what he's fixing to face right now," Westerburg said. "But he's pretty calm and cool under all that stuff. He faced some pressure here, like last year in our first playoff game, but he performed real well then, like he always did under pressure."

True freshman defensive tackle Marcus Shavers was a high school teammate and is now Casey Dick's roommate. He pointed out Dick's calm demeanor after learning he was the starter proved he could handle anything.

"He's pretty excited, but he's been cool about it," Shavers said. "He's been waiting on this opportunity and I know he's ready and know he's going to perform great Saturday. He didn't seem nervous at all and was confident really. He was like, 'Now it's my turn to show what I can do.' and was just ready to get back to work and get better.

"He's got the type of confidence that rubs off on all the people around him."

Casey Dick's first high school start came as a senior. He played in every game as a junior and, despite coming off the bench, still earned all-district honors. He completed 133 of 248 passes for 1,942 yards as a senior.

In his starting debut against Mesquite, Texas, he didn't waste any time making a splash, leading the Eagles to a convincing win.

"On the first play of the game, he burned us on like a 60-yard pass," said Hogs flanker Reggie Fish, who played at Mesquite. "From what I saw in high school, he was an all-around quarterback. He just knows the game and for the most part, he always made the right decisions.

"And of course, he's got a heckuva arm and was always very accurate."

Dad remembers the first start well. Casey Dick completed 15 of 26 passes for 237 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Before the game, Westerburg asked the offense if it wanted to take a shot downfield on the opening play.

"Coach Westerburg said they were thinking about throwing the post right off the bat and when the players thought about it, they said, 'Yeah, let's go for it.'" Steve Dick said. "And of course, it worked."

Arkansas hopes it works again on Saturday whether on the first play or the 50th play. The Hogs' longest completion was a 29-yarder and it came after a short pass in the flat to Peyton Hillis.

Casey Dick's arm strength and accuracy is what helped him earn the starting job. He's been especially impressive on deep passes, something which doesn't surprise anybody.

It helped rally Allen High to win against Klein Forest (Houston, Texas) in the quarterfinals after the Eagles had dug a 17-0 lead in the second quarter. Before coming out with an injury, Casey Dick led three scoring drives to tie the score by halftime.

"The offensive line said he gave them a speech kind of like from (the book and movie) 'Friday Night Lights,'" Shavers said. "The speech the quarterback gave in the huddle. It was in the middle of a game and Casey, who was playing hurt, told the offense that 'I love all of ya'll and I'm going to meet you in the end zone.'

"They broke the huddle and scored on that play."

Steve and Mary Ellen Dick haven't missed a home game this season and plan to arrive in Fayetteville on Friday. Steve Dick said his son had no problems shedding his redshirt even though it's for the eighth game of the season.

"He just wants to help the team win," Steve Dick said. "He just felt like if they needed him, then that's what he wanted to do to help the team. We told him it's basically your decision and he said that this is what he wanted to do from a team perspective. He wants to do whatever he can to help the team get better and find a way to win.

"He's a team player. That's the way he has always been."

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