Buffaloes doubling up on quarterbacks with Bary, Underwood
FLOYD –Winfred Beale never once as a high school football coach enjoyed a circumstance like he has now with quarterbacks Gus Underwood and Matt Bary.
“It’s a weird situation, one I’ve never experienced as a coach, long as I’ve been around, to have two kids who could start for a lot of single-A football teams,” Beale said this week.
The situation developed after Underwood was hurt the week following the opener with Christiansburg. Bary, a 5-foot-9, 148-pound junior who had not had a QB start since he was on JV as a freshman, stepped in the last two games, both wins, with 15 completions in 28 attempts (53.5 percent) for 197 yards, two TD’s, and two interceptions.
“Things have gone pretty much as well as I could have asked for,” Bary said. “I’m pretty happy with it. I still could have definitely done better.”
As for the last sentiment, Underwood definitely felt he could have done better with his decision making after he went over the handlebars of his dirt bike the other day. As the incumbent quarterback starter who was coming off a promising start to this campaign after a solid debut season as a full-time starter junior year.
“I shouldn’t have been riding in season,” the 6-foot, 178-pound senior said. “But that’s what I do for fun. I have a track I ride on. I was on the third lap, nothing out of the ordinary. I hit a jump wrong and went over the handlebars and bruised my rotator cuff.”
Truth hurt worse than the shoulder.
“ I thought for a minute there that I’d just thrown away my senior year,” he said. “I felt really, really stupid.”
Things weren’t as dire as he may have thought, as he found out with a visit to an orthopedic specialist. No MRI was required to diagnose a bruise rather than something more significant. Underwood said he thought he could have played last week against Patrick County but in the end believed it was smart to wait for another week before risking further damage.
The doctor had a soothing bedside manner.
Beale did not.
Losing a veteran QB who had 1,303 yards total offense, 10 scoring passes and two more TD’s scored in 10 games last year is guaranteed to raise any coach’s blood pressure, particularly when the injury came as a result of improper operation of dangerous machinery.
Everything’s been back to normal this week in practice, or more or less so. Beale was cagey about his plans for Friday’s 7:30 p.m. tilt at undefeated George Wythe.
“Both guys are going to play,” he said.
On defense, each is a starter. Underwood plays both safety and outside linebacker; Bary is a cornerback. As to who will get the nod at QB, Beale says to expect a decision by Wednesday.
If it’s Underwood, Bary goes back to wide receiver, which is where he started the year and caught a TD pass from Underwood. Bary players quarterback and Underwood may be in for a new position for him on offense, either H-back or perhaps a slot receiver.
All the options with those two says something about both. First of all, it speaks to their character as team players. Whatever personal triumphs and disappointments they may have about where they are ultimately deployed you can be assured they’ll keep to themselves in the best interests of the team as a whole.
The other thing about the flexibility they offer that’s important to note is the athleticism of the two. Each of them is a member of that fading fraternity of guys who play all three traditional ball sports. They’ve been teammates and friends in multiple seasons.
“You really can’t go wrong with either one of them,” Beale said.
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