Alabama, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Tennessee and LSU aren’t the only teams that have spring quarterback battles. Count Vanderbilt in that boat, too.
Patton Robinette and Johnny McCrary have been battling all spring for the keys to Derek Mason’s offense come fall, and the information has been rather limited. But Mason opened up a little yesterday in this video to the Tennessean, talking about the strengths of Robinette and McCrary, and where things stand heading into Saturday’s spring game.
Q: Two quarterbacks that you’ll have out there, right: Patton [Robinette] and Johnny [McCrary]?
DM: “Those quarterbacks right now are doing a great job,” Mason said. “I thought Johnny’s had a great spring, and Robinette’s made some strides, just in terms of where he is. Really right now, I think it’s a tight race, and I’m looking forward to taking this thing into the summer and see what’s happening. I think both of those guys have brought nice things to the forefront.
“Johnny right now looks to be poised in terms of the passing game, and I think Robinette, you know, functions a little better just in terms of his ability to manage the offense. So, you have a big play guy [Johnny] and a guy who knows how to manage the offense [Robinette]. So, it’ll be interesting in the spring game to see how that goes. I want to see some points.”
Mason went on to say whatever the two players do in the spring game would have an impact on the depth chart.
Interpreting Mason’s words, it sounds like if he had to name a starter tomorrow, it would be Robinette, who filled in last year when Austyn Carta-Samuels went out with an injury. Robinette threw for 642 yards and four touchdowns, along with five interceptions, and he also rushed for 214 yards and seven touchdowns.
Vanderbilt has a safer starter in Robinette, but the offense could reach higher ceilings under redshirt freshman and dual-threat Johnny McCrary, who has turned heads this spring.
Don’t expect Mason to name a starter anytime soon, as he points to the battle continuing over summer and on into fall camp. But this is really the first time he’s discussed the quarterback battle at length, as well as the strengths of each player, as he sees it.
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