Arkansas State trying different options at QB

Arkansas State is adding a new quarterback to its competition.

During Arkansas State’s fourth spring practice Monday, coach Steve Roberts had wide receiver Andre Smith take some snaps with the quarterbacks and got some good results.

Smith, a sophomore, originally signed with Arkansas State as a quarterback, but moved to receiver during last year’s spring camp. He did take limited snaps at quarterback during the 2009 season, but prior to this spring, Roberts said he wanted to make sure Smith learned the wide receiver position better before he worked with the quarterbacks.

Redshirt freshman Phillip Butterfield is the top quarterback listed on the depth chart with walk-on Seth Tripod behind him. Butterfield was in the quarterbacking competition last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury during fall camp.

Departed senior Corey Leonard was last year’s starter before injuries forced him off the field. Sophomore Ryan Aplin started three of the team’s final four games last year and won the final two to help the Red Wolves finish 4-8.

Aplin underwent surgery on his throwing shoulder after the season and has limited participation in spring ball. Roberts did say that Aplin did enough in the fall to continue to be the team’s starter.

“He proved that during the fall last year,” Roberts told media prior to spring practices. “Obviously we’re installing a new system and there are opportunities that the other quarterbacks will get during the spring. We don’t have to name a starter until before our first ballgame, so we probably won’t.”

Smith, who came into spring listed as a second-team wide receiver on the depth chart, notched stats as a rusher last season as he ran 12 times for 46 yards. With the ability to run and catch, Smith gives the Red Wolves the diversity to use him in the wildcat or as a decoy.

“Our plan from the beginning was to start getting him some reps at quarterback this week,” Roberts said of Smith after Monday’s practice. “He got more reps than we expected him to get today, but he adjusted and made some great plays. He is going to figure into our plans with some things as a quarterback next year, and I am really pleased with the way he competed today.”