Ball State Turns the Page

After having Nate Davis to rely on, the Ball State Football Program now hands the keys to the program over to redshirt freshman Kelly Page.

MUNCIE — There's no pressure on Kelly Page.

Well, maybe just a smudge.

He's only following in the footsteps of the best quarterback in the history of Ball State football: Nate Davis. But after a redshirt year and a month's work of spring practices, the freshman is ready to shoulder the burden of being the Cardinals' signal-caller.

"Nate Davis is Nate Davis," Page said. "Me, Tanner (Justice) and Aaron (Mershman) are our own individuals. Of course, everyone's going to want that high-powered Nate Davis offense. We're just going to try and put more points on the board than the other team. We're just going to try to win so that our fans and students come back out."

At Saturday's spring game, Page gave Cardinals fans a glimpse of what the future holds, showing off a good arm and the ability to scramble, not unlike Central Michigan's Dan Lefevour.

But Page is a little hard on himself. He thinks he may have left the pocket too early on multiple occasions instead of hanging tough to deliver the pass. Which might be true, but it was also clear that he's going to make a lot of plays with his legs this fall. During the game, however, he only engineered one scoring drive that ended with a Frank Edmonds touchdown. But it's all part of the learning process.

"I just got to get more comfortable in the pocket," Page said. "The offensive line did a good job today and a couple of sacks were my fault."

Page may need to use those legs quite a bit this year though, as the Cardinals are currently revamping their offensive line with the departure of four-year starters Robert Brewster, Andre Ramsey and Dan Gerberry.

Page, originally from Mesquite, Tex., had committed and de-committed to both Oregon and Tulsa before finding a place in Muncie. Although he's technically competing for the job with freshman Aaron Mershman and senior Tanner Justice, coach Stan Parrish has been pretty vocal about Page being the No. 1 starter.

"I've had him for a whole year and got to practice him up all year and coach him like I was coaching Davis," Parrish said. "I knew there was a strong chance that, with a great year, Nathan might not be back with us. In my own silly way, I always prepared for that and I think for a guy who hasn't played (Page) played with a little bit of poise and showed that he was a good thrower."

Having the season and spring to grasp the offense, the future of Ball State's offense is now in Page's hands. Page said he's vastly improved his ability to read and break down coverage, going through pre-snap progressions and developing as a runner and thrower.

"I'm never done learning," Page said. "I'm learning something new everyday. Replacing Nate Davis is a hard task. I just think we have to go out there and play to the best of our abilities and run the offense like Coach Parrish wants us to."

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