ELLISVILLE - There will not be a familiar face behind center when the 19th-ranked Jones County Junior College Bobcats take the field this fall.
Sophomore transfer Tromarcus Toney and true freshman Mitchell Brown will be the two new quarterbacks this season. Last year's quarterbacks - Brian Robinson, Robert Ross and Brandon May - are no longer on the team.
Toney, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound transfer from Itawamba Community College, is the frontrunner at this point.
"It worked out well for both Tromarcus and us," said JCJC offensive coordinator/quarterbacks/wide receivers coach Brad Griffin. "They had a coaching change at Itawamba and he was looking for a fresh start. We were looking for quarterbacks, so it turned out to be a good situation for everyone concerned. It's been a good fit for Tromarcus and Jones.
"Tromarcus came in, went through spring training and was here all summer. He has really progressed well. Unless something happens, we anticipate him being ‘the guy.' He has been running with the ‘ones' during preseason."
Toney played at Itawamba last year and has shown the ability to throw the ball and run it effectively. Griffin is pleased with Toney's play in preseason.
"He makes good decisions most of the time," he said. "He throws a nice ball and runs pretty decently. He may not be a great runner and he's a little different than what we had last year as far as athleticism goes.
"He is more of a true passer, but he can do some things with the ball in his hands that will make people have to defend him."
Griffin added that Toney is willing to listen to the coaches and do what is necessary to be a solid quarterback in the MACJC.
"He is very coachable and that is a plus," Griffin said of the Melrose High School in Memphis, Tenn., product.
Backing up Toney is Brown, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound player from Greene County High School.
Griffin said Brown has impressed the coaches during the summer and preseason.
"Mitchell is working with the ‘twos' and he has really improved and gotten better," said Griffin. "Like Tromarcus, he is a very coachable player."
Even though the quarterbacks are new, Griffin has confidence in the way both players have performed so far.
"I am pleased with the progress at the quarterback position," he said. "I think we are where we need to be at this point. The biggest thing we have to work on with those guys from now until kickoff is mental preparation.
"They both have physical tools and I think we will be fine."
Overall on offense, the Bobcats are inexperienced at the skill slots - quarterback, running back, wide receiver - but have some experience in the line.
But Griffin believes the unit is on the right track.
"At our first offensive meeting, we asked how many guys had actually dressed out and played last year," he said. "I think only seven or eight raised their hands. Most of our experience is up front, but still only one of those guys has a lot of experience. Now, a lot of them have played and that helps.
"But the entire offense is working very hard. It seems to be a conscientious group. They want to do things the right way. Hopefully, we can put those things together with some pretty good players and we can have a pretty good offense."
The Bobcats will open the season at 6 p.m. on Sept. 2 at Mississippi Delta Community College. The game will air on WGDQ-FM, 93.1, and on www.jcjc.tv (audio only) with Lance Pittman on the call and Mark Easley providing commentary.
Air time will be 5:30 p.m.