Couch Likely for Fourth Straight Week

Mike McLain brings us the latest from Berea as Butch leans toward another start for Couch, Lehan has to learn fast, and the team's Head Coach talks about the importance of fan support...

BEREA - Kelly Holcomb was healthy enough to be the backup quarterback against Oakland, but that doesn't mean he'll get the call when the Browns host the San Diego Chargers next Sunday.

Coach Butch Davis didn't come out and say that Tim Couch will start for a fourth straight week, saying it remains a day-to-day issue because of Holcomb's injured right fibula. However, it appears likely that Couch will get the call.

"It's the same as it's been for the last couple of weeks," Davis said. "Whoever gives us the best chance to win will be the guy. There's no reason to suspect it will change until Kelly is 100 percent healthy."

When Davis was pressed on the quarterback question, he wouldn't say what he'll do when Holcomb has fully recovered from a fractured right fibula.

"If he (Kelly) was okay today, then we'd have something to talk about, but he's not okay," Davis said. "I wish I could tell you when he's going to be 100 percent. I can tell you that today (Monday) he admitted he had some struggles jogging. He's progressed from being the number three quarterback to the number two quarterback. When he's ready, we'll deal with it, but right now all we're worried about is San Diego."

Couch thought he played okay in the 13-7 win over Oakland. There were times when he wanted to throw the ball vertically, but he thought better of it.

"In the past I probably would have tried to take the game over and do something," Couch said. "That's when I got myself in trouble. I kind of let the game play itself out. Will (William Green) was doing his thing, so I really didn't have to take that shot."


LEHAN'S LEAP: Rookie cornerback Michael Lehan had to have been nervous last Sunday. He wasn't supposed to play much in the secondary, but minor injuries forced him into action against future Hall of Fame receivers Jerry Rice and Tim Brown.

"It was my second NFL game, and I was lined up opposite Jerry Rice and playing Tim Brown in man coverage," said Lehan, a fourth-round draft pick from Minnesota. "That's a huge step from where I was last year at this time. You can only think about it for a second because that's my job to go out there and cover wide receivers."


GAMEBALLS (NO GOATS): Kicker Chris Gardocki and punter Phil Dawson were awarded game balls on special teams. Defensive honors went to outside linebacker Ben Taylor, defensive end Courtney Brown and cornerback Daylon McCutcheon. Offensive honors went to receiver Dennis Northcutt and Green.

Dawson and Gardocki were singled out by Davis. Gardocki had a 46.5 gross average and had three punts downed inside the 20. Dawson kicked field goals of 52 and 32 yards, and he ran 14 yards for a first down on a fake field goal.

Davis was worried about Dawson's 32-yard field goal because of the tricky wind in the Dawg Pound end of the stadium.

"You threw grass up in pregame, and it literally went sideways," Davis said. "When he kicked off, Phil teed it up and aimed for the right upright, and it almost went out of bounds. If he had aimed for the left upright, it would have gone out of bounds and they would have had the ball at the 40."

The wind was blowing in support of kicks towards the west end of the stadium. Davis said he would have felt comfortable allowing Dawson to attempt a kick in the vicinity of 60 yards out.

PROPS FOR THE FANS: Davis couldn't have been more pleased with the role played by the fans last Sunday. The loud crowd noise made it difficult for Gannon's calls to be heard.

"It does make a difference in all phases," Davis said. "We talked a little bit about it a week before when we played in Pittsburgh. It made a difference that Pittsburgh (fans) turned on their team in the first quarter. There's nothing more demoralizing."


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