The race for the starting quarterback job is the big story in The Citadel’s spring football, and sophomore Dominique Allen had been separating himself from the pack.
Until Saturday morning’s practice, that is, when Allen suffered a knee injury that may cause some major reshuffling at the position.
Allen, who served as Aaron Miller’s backup last season, hurt his left knee during Saturday’s practice at Johnson Hagood Stadium when his legs were knocked from under him by a defensive tackle. He was helped off the field and driven back to campus on a cart, leaving coach Mike Houston hoping for the best.
“I think he’s OK,” Houston said. “The prelim check, it looked like he was fine. We just needed to get him calmed down and get him looked at. But that kind of put a damper on what we wanted to get done today.”
The Citadel had already moved redshirt freshman Jalen Lampkin from quarterback to cornerback, leaving Allen at QB along with redshirt freshman Shon Belton and junior Dane Anderson. With Allen’s status uncertain, Houston and offensive coordinator Brent Thompson could consider moving standout slotback Cam Jackson back to his original position at QB.
“If it’s a situation where we don’t have Dom for the rest of the spring, then obviously we’d look at Cam,” said Houston, who also has incoming freshman QB Jordan Black reporting this summer..
Already this spring, the 6-1, 220-pound Allen had established himself as heir apparent to Miller.
“Dominique had really pulled away, by far and away the lead guy in that competition,” Houston said.
Belton, 5-11 and 185 pounds, struggled with the snap a couple of times in Saturday’s practice, but did pick up one loose ball and fire a touchdown pass to Jackson, who made a nice back-shoulder catch.
Sophomore Isiaha Smith and redshirt freshman DeSean Daniels each had big runs at fullback, and junior fullback Tyler Renew has been taking reps at slotback. Renew took a pitch and went about 25 yards for a TD Saturday with the No. 2 offense. “If we get Tyler able to play two positions, it gives us some flexibility and away to get all those guys on the field at the same time,” Houston said.
Houston said offensive linemen Sam Frye and Isaiah Pinson have had solid springs, along with defensive linemen Mitchell Jeter and Jonathan King. Defensive ends Mark Thomas and Travis Johnson “have been as big a surprise as anybody, they’ve been really good,” Houston said.
Receiver Alex Glover (ankle) and slotback Jauveer Hammond (knee) did not practice Saturday, but Houston expects them back next week.
“We look better right now, night and day from where we were a year ago,” Houston said. “The way the kids compete, the way they go after each other, is exactly the we want them.”