Letting The Sunshine In

Quarterback coach Steve Ensminger discusses the play of freshman quarterback Josh Sullivan, who made his college debut a successful one.

Auburn, Ala.--Quarterback coach Steve Ensminger, who also calls the plays on game days, hasn't had much to smile about so far this season. However, what he saw in game three changed that as both starting quarterback Jason Campbell and backup Josh Sullivan performed well.

Sullivan, a redshirt freshman, was one of the big unknown factors for the 2003 football Tigers. He played well in his first outing, hitting five of seven passes for 44 yards with no interceptions. He also had two nice runs. Overall, his position coach gave the player nicknamed "Sunshine" a thumbs up review.

Josh Sullivan looks for a receiver vs. Vanderbilt.

"I thought he did real well," Ensminger says. "I thought he made good decisions. He threw the ball to the right place and he threw the ball on time. He had a little pressure a couple of times and got rid of the football. He made good decisions on his runs not to throw the football. For his debut, I thought he was outstanding."

Ensminger says that the Tigers really needed to get Sullivan on the field for some game action with no backup quarterback having any prior college game experience prior to last week's 45-7 victory at Vanderbilt. "I think the success has helped him with his confidence," Ensminger says.

Sullivan says that after his initial snap at Vanderbilt Stadium he got over his nervousness and was concentrating on his assignments and reads. "Overall, I thought it went pretty well," Sullivan says.

Sullivan is shown in action during an intrasquad scrimmage. Before Saturday's game in Nashville, that was the limit of his collegiate experience.

Starting quarterback Jason Campbell had by far his best game of the season. He was 12-19 for 220 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Campbell had several well thrown passes dropped so he could have put up even better statistics.

"Really, out of the 19 throws I think Jason had three drops, he threw one away and I think he made two poor decisions," his coach says. "But, what he did do, is he didn't hold on to the football. He got it away on time. We needed something like that. We haven't had much success doing that, but I think that built his confidence a little bit."

Ensminger says the offweek has been a time to concentrate on the fundamentals for the quarterbacks. "It is good to see what we talk about works," the coach says. "It takes us into this week on a positive." Ensminger has been working with his QBs on rhythm and timing of the passing game the past two practices. The Tigers will work out on Thursday before returning to the practice field on Sunday to resume preparations for a home game vs. Division I-AA defending national champion Western Kentucky.


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