Photo by Derrick Mahone
Last season's starting quarterback Berry Mayes (left) will have to battle this season's starter Jay Murray for playing time at Drew.
As Drew coach Jarrett Laws sees it, there is not, and there will not be, a quarterback controversy on his team.
Laws has made it clear that he will play the "best quarterback that earns" the starting job each week.
Before practice began last week, junior Berry Mayes was slated to be the starter. Even though he missed the majority of the summer workouts playing AAU basketball, Laws wasn't going to penalize him for it.
But a couple days before preseason practice started, it was apparent that Mayes would not be on the football team, as he was trying to pursue basketball full-time.
Another junior, Jay Murray, was handed the reins of the offense after going through summer workouts with the first unit.
Laws insists nothing has changed after Mayes showed up for his first workout with the team on Wednesday after having a change of heart.
"He (Berry) has got to compete for the job," Laws said over the phone Wednesday evening. "We are going to go with the guy that shows up week to week."
As the Titans take the field Friday at Southern Crescent Stadium Friday for a scrimmage against Riverdale, Murray will get the start.
Mayes has started the last two seasons for the fledgling program, and produced 1,101 yards of offense, but will mostly be a spectator on the sidelines Friday.
"Jay has been taking the snaps this summer," Laws said. "Our offense has changed some, so Berry has some things to learn."
For now, its Murray's job to keep.
To show his seriousness about rejoining the team, Mayes showed up for the 7 a.m. quarterback meeting on Wednesday. He will be required to do some extra work to catch up.
This could be a fragile situation for a team that is still looking for an identity. But Laws seems to have it well in hand.
He has set the ground rules, and says the team is in full support.
"Kids have got to understand that regardless if they think it is right, wrong or they're indifferent, they have got to support everybody," Laws said. "I think the kids are pulling together to help make this team better."
In their first full varsity season, the Titans were 2-8. This year, a challenging schedule includes another trip to South Georgia power Cairo and games against a tough Episcopal of Florida team and two-time state champion Sandy Creek. It's not time for a team to be divided.
The competition between Mayes and Murray could result in a good situation for the Titans. It can become a win-win situation for the team.
"Either way it goes, we will put a good quarterback on the field," Laws said.
And that can only make the entire team better.
Derrick Mahone covers sports for the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.