Somewhere in the middle of FAU’s first spring scrimmage, Charlie Partridge realized that he had more than one quarterback with talent on his roster. Partridge addressed the media on Saturday, and after watching sophomore quarterback Greg Hankerson put on an offensive showcase, he revealed what the performance really meant.
Hankerson - who couldn’t miss in the near two-hour scripted scrimmage - is in the midst of a quarterback competition with junior Jaquez Johnson for the Owls’ starting gig along with true freshman Jason Driskel.
Hankerson was efficient and effective during the scrimmage, and more importantly, he looked like a individual that could open the season as FAU’s starter Aug. 30th at Nebraska.
“That battle rages on,” Partirdge said. “But I’m excited about all three of these guys.”
And he should be.
Both Hankerson and Johnson have shown what they can do at the helm, now it’s time to just figure out which guy is better suited to lead the offense.
On Saturday, the clear answer was Hankerson.
The gun-slinger opened the scrimmage with a 45-yard pass to Derek Moise, and by days end, he had racked up 182 yards passing and three touchdowns. He started the afternoon working with the second-team unit, before quickly finding some reps with the first team.
“That was part of the plan. If you noticed, Driskel had some reps with the two’s as well,” Partridge said of Hankerson. “I’m happy with how Greg performed today.”
While Hankerson was turning heads, Johnson on the other hand, had an up-and-down outing.
The fifteen-pound lighter version of Johnson struggled with his accuracy, and finished the day 8-of-16 passing for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Hankerson was 16-for-20 passing.
“I don’t judge. This is the first time I have had and a chance to see these guys,” Partridge said.
And that’s a good thing, because Johnson has the track record under center as a starter, and everyone is well aware of that.
Partridge said he wanted to treat the scrimmage like a game situation, and asked the players to prepare as if they were playing a Conference-USA opponent. Hankerson, who filled in for Johnson last season against Rice, leaned heavily on his only experience on his starter, and it showed.
“I wanted to see how these kids would operate with that in mind,” Partridge said. “A couple of guys really showed up today that affects where we’ll be on the depth chart over the next few days.”
It isn’t likely that Hankerson will jump Johnson on the depth chart, but the gap appears to be shrinking between the two. Hankerson has seven more practice sessions over the next two weeks to continue to make his case for the starting nod.