Stanley making progress

With Raymond Cotton sitting out most of the week with a sore arm, QB Nathan Stanley had been getting a lot of extra reps. The added work, among other things, has paid off. Read about it inside.

It doesn't take a genius to figure some things out.

One being how a young player with loads of raw ability gets better.

Reps, reps and more reps. . . study, study and study some more. . . a supporting cast stepping up more.

That's exactly what took place last week with Rebel Quarterback Nathan Stanley and the results were noticeable, in a positive way.

Raymond Cotton, also battling for the top spot at QB, missed "three or four days" with a sore arm, which - by default - threw more practice reps in Stanley's lap. He took advantage of them.

Nathan Stanley

"I got into a better rhythm this week," said Stanley after Saturday's scrimmage. "I made a couple of throws I'd like to have back today but we got things going a little after a real slow start."

Stanley was glad to see the running game, which has been anemic most of spring, get some momentum going in the scrimmage.

"It helps the quarterback a lot when the running game is clicking. It sets up the passing game and it was good to see our guys up front open up some holes for the backs, especially going against a D-line like we have," Nathan stated. "When the running game goes, we can get some positive results in the passing game as well."

Nate has felt the tone of spring shifting in the past week. Early on, the dominance of the defense was frustrating and demoralizing, but the offense did something about it during the week and became more competitive.

"We turned things around a little bit this week. We started the spring slowly and a little unsure of ourselves," he said. "We are still not close to where we want to be, but having a little success now and then against this defense makes us feel better about ourselves."

In the first six-eight spring practices, there was even a frustration level building on the offense.

"The defense was laying into us pretty good. They were giving it to us," he said. "That's a good defense and they were coming out fired up every day. It felt good to make some plays and get things going a little bit this week.

"We had to match their intensity. They are more experienced than us and bring a lot of weapons to the table," he said. "We have weapons on our side of the ball as well but we just have to utilize them and come out as fired up about practice as they are.

Nathan Stanley

"When we get that mindset, we can get some things done on our side of the ball, but if we let down our guard any, our defense makes you pay."

Stanley said he's starting to feel his confidence grow day by day.

"I am more confident, a lot more confident," he closed. "I'm spending a lot of time with Coach (David) Rader, who is doing a great job of getting me prepared and that has helped my confidence a lot. It always helps to have some success too, which we had more of this week."

The quarterback race is still on, but it looks like Stanley, for now, has a leg up on Cotton.

"I'm not his position coach, but from my perspective, after a slow start early on, Nathan had a good scrimmage and a good week of practice," said Co-Offensive Coordinator Mike Markuson. "I think the guys up front are giving him a little more time to operate, the running game is getting better and that has helped him have some success.

"Success usually breeds more success. We made strides this week on offense and one of the main reasons was the way Nate played."

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