Spring game previews: ODU, W&M and NSU all set to debut new QBs

Old Dominion, William & Mary and Norfolk State will all hold their annual Spring football games on Saturday afternoon, and all three are still looking for new starting quarterbacks.

Head coach Bobby Wilder, who’s team finished 10-3 and as Bahamas Bowl champions, is looking to replace David Washington. At the moment, his top two candidates are Drayton Arnold, a 5-11, strong-armed freshman from Myrtle Beach, and Blake LaRussa from Virginia Beach (Bishop Sullivan Catholic).

LaRussa is the only quarterback with game experience. He ran for a touchdown against Marshall last season, but Wilder says nothing is settled and he’s not playing favorites. “Both quarterbacks are moving the chains and we’re not playing favorites with either one,” said Wilder after the team’s first scrimmage of the Spring on Saturday.

“There’s times they’re in there with the top offensive line, and there’s times they’re in there with guys that are just trying to figure it out right now. So, the pocket’s not always clean, and that’s part of how we develop quarterbacks, we try to put them in adverse situations, and both guys are handling it right now.”

William & Mary, who finished a disappointing 5-6 a season ago, is looking to replace three-year starter Steve Cluley. Head coach Jimmye Laycock may have as many as five options thus far through the Spring, but at the moment, his top two may be junior Tommy McKee from Virginia Beach (Cox High School) and Shon Mitchell from Chesapeake (Oscar Smith High School). Mitchell enrolled in January, and completed the most decorated four-year career in Virginia History, breaking the all-time record for passing yards, touchdowns and completions.

Finally, Norfolk State has two gunslingers vying for the top spot. Tyree Givers-Wilson from Chesapeake (Indian River High School) is neck-and-neck with Tripp Harrington, a freshman transfer from Fork Union Military Academy. Head coach Latrell Scott, heading into his fourth season, believes this battle could wage on long past Saturday’s Spring game. “”Both of these guys are throwers,” Scott said after the team’s scrimmage on Saturday.

“They can throw the ball. Tripp is a little bit more athletic than Tyree, but Tyree throws the ball very well, and it’s a competition that will probably last long through summer camp.

The Tribe’s Spring game kicks off at 1:00 pm, the Spartans at 2:00 pm, and the Monarchs at 3:00 pm.