When Furman coach Bobby Lamb sat his quarterbacks down and informed them that the Paladins would be pursuing a hotshot transfer from UCLA, Jordan Sorrells was unfazed.
"He looked at me and said, 'Coach, whatever helps us win a conference championship, I'm all for,' " Lamb reported.
Remarkable, considering that Sorrells, a 6-2, 209-pound senior, was the Paladins' incumbent starter. And that his father, Tim Sorrells, is Furman's offensive coordinator. And that quarterbacks don't usually transfer from UCLA to Furman in order to hold a clipboard.
By all accounts, Sorrells responded to the challenge posed by ex-UCLA quarterback Chris Forcier in all the right ways. He showed the fruits of that labor in Furman's season-opening, 45-21 victory over Presbyterian last week.
Sorrells played one of his finest games at Furman, hitting 24 of 30 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns. He even ran the zone-read option to near perfection, rushing four times for 63 yards and another TD and winning Southern Conference offensive player of the week honors.
"Jordan has worked extremely hard, both physically and mentally," Lamb said. "His football IQ was pretty good last year, and he has stepped that up a notch. He has really taken on the challenge of these other quarterbacks coming in and putting pressure on him."
One reason that Lamb likes the 6-3, 200-pound Forcier is his speed, which makes him a threat to run the ball as a QB. Sorrells, who ran for a net of -27 yards last season, has even improved in that area.
"He had three option runs and he should have had a fourth," Lamb said. "He missed one read on the zone-read. Straight ahead, Jordan runs a 4.8 40-yard dash. We're not trying to score from 50 yards out with him, but we must run some zone-read in there, and if we can get four, five, six, seven yards running the ball with the quarterback, that will continue to be part of our package."
Meanwhile, Sorrells completed passes to eight different receivers, including eight to Adam Mims and three to Tennessee transfer Tyler Maples, who scored a TD in his first game as a Paladin. Running back Tersoo Uhaa ran for 95 yards and two scores as Furman totaled 495 yards.
"On offense, we played about as well as we could," said Lamb, whose team opens SoCon play against Chattanooga this week. "Jordan made one poor decision on an interception, but other than that, we played a very solid game on offense."
Forcier, meanwhile, did not play against Presbyterian, though Lamb has said he plans to use the transfer this season, particularly inside the red zone.
"Chris has three years to play," Lamb said. "To be honest, if he'd had only one year, we would not have taken him. But he has three years, so we have time to get him in there and get him in the right situation to make him successful."
--Benedict College has a junior quarterback, Pat Riley, who appears to be just as slick as his namesake, the famed NBA coach. Riley, a 6-0, 180-pounder from Attapulgus, Ga., ran for 163 yards and two TDs and passed for another score as Benedict (1-2) got its first win with a 49-21 victory over West Virginia State in the Palmetto Capital City Classic last weekend.
--With his team down just 2-0 at halftime to FBS squad Kent State last week, Coastal Carolina coach David Benedict thought the Chanticleers had a good shot at the upset.
"I told our guys, there will be two or three FCS teams beating I-A teams, and we had a chance to do it," he said. "Richmond beat Duke, William & Mary beat Virginia, and we could have been the third one."
But the Chants could not muster enough offense, and lost 18-0. QB Zach McDowall was just 12 of 26 for 107 yards and an interception, and Coastal netted just 78 yards rushing.
--Wofford was its own worst enemy in its 40-7 loss at South Florida. A couple of bad punt snaps, two fumbles and a missed field goal helped break open a game that was tied, 7-7, late in the first half.
The first bad snap led to a South Florida TD and a 14-7 lead with 36 seconds left in the half. The second gave USF a safety and a 16-7 lead just one second before intermission.
"Mistakes cost us the win," said Ayers said, whose team hosts Charleston Southern this week. "And I mean win."
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