Evan Sharpley didn't see action as a freshman, and was the number three quarterback as spring football began. The sophomore quickly pushed past David Wolke on the Irish depth chart to move behind Brady Quinn during spring practice. Wolke has since transferred, but Sharpley now has to compete with blue-chip freshmen Zach Frazer and Demetrius Jones to be number two.
"Right now we are all battling for that job, and it's going to be interesting to see how everything pans out," said Sharpley, who also played baseball for the Irish last season.
The last time we saw Sharpley on a football field, he was a very efficient 10-for-12 for 112 yards in the spring game. He played every series but one, doing just about everything well with the exception of a fumble. Sharpley's rise up the depth chart, and the addition of Frazer and Jones to the fold probably provoked Wolke's transfer.
"I think I've made great strides, especially since last year," Sharpley said. "Hopefully I can continue to improve day to day. That's all I can ask of myself."
Not surprisingly, through four days of camp, not one of the three quarterback contenders has stood out. At least nobody has publicly anyway.
"We're making progress," quarterbacks coach Peter Vaas said. "I feel good about the quarterback position at this present time, (and) that we are making progress on a daily basis. I'm not ready to stand up in a staff meeting and say coach, we don't need practice tomorrow. We still do."
Even though he put together a nice spring, Sharpley said he didn't really start to get better until the summer. He kept his nose buried in the playbook soaking up the offense. He was able to throw routes with the receivers regularly to stay sharp. There was a lot of conditioning work. Yet there is so much room for improvement.
"There are so many little aspects, my drops, my reads, just little things day in and day out," Sharpley explained. "Being more comfortable day in and day out, that type of thing.
Sharpley is trying to grasp and refine things all at the same time. He's had a year in the system, imagine how Frazer and Jones are feeling.
"I think now we've put so much in, we've been here four days, just kind of keep processing it and getting better with the stuff that's gone in so far," he said.
Sharpley, Jones and Frazer can watch Quinn's work ethic and apply it to what they are doing.
"He is always coming, trying to get better each day," Sharpley said. "Each day he looks for something new to improve on, whether it be some reads or his drop or what not."
On the diamond, Sharpley played in 10 games as a reserve infielder, hitting .333 with four runs batted in. With baseball coach Paul Mainieri leaving Notre Dame for LSU, Sharpley isn't sure how things are going to work out with new coach Dave Schrage. The plan is still to play both sports.
"Right now I'm here for football and we'll kind of take it and see how it goes," Sharpley said. "We just have to focus on the season and take it from there."
Right now, all Sharpley is focusing on is trying to be Number two.
Sharpley Trying to Solidify No. 2
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