Bennett adds mobility to passing game
Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 14:03
Among the large 2013 recruiting class, head football coach Ron Roberts and his coaching staff welcomed in former Oregon Duck backup quarterback Bryan Bennett. He played 18 career games in two seasons at the University of Oregon. Bennett also finished as the Duck’s fifth leading rusher in 2012, with 165 yards, and scored six touchdowns over ten games to help bring the Ducks to the 2012 BCS Fiesta Bowl against the Kansas State Wildcats, in which the number four ranked Oregon Ducks were victorious.
Coming out of high school, Bennett was ranked as a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, and was touted as a four-star recruit by Scout.com and Rivals.com. In his sophomore year of high school, he took over the starting quarterback job at Crespi High School in Encino, Calif. when starter Kevin Prince, who went on to a career at UCLA, went down with an injury.
Bennett threw for six touchdowns and 369 yards as backup to Darron Thomas during the 2011 season, but made an even bigger impact on the ground with 23 attempts for 216 yards in eight games.
Originally slated as the favorite for the starting job last year, he lost the competition to redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota and threw for only 211 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games played.
Roberts is hopeful for the upcoming season, and Bennett’s competitive energy and physical mentality is what the team needed. What Roberts noticed first about Bennett was “more so his personality than anything,” which is a strong factor in the success of a quarterback and football team.
“I think he’s a very well rounded person,” Roberts said. “He’s got that competitive spirit about him, he’s a hard worker. I like the way he carries himself, as a human being more than anything. That’s a big part of the quarterback position, the leadership. A lot of the times, that kind of guy can set the tone and mentality for the team. Right now, he’s the one that demonstrates more than anybody what we’re looking for as far as a tough, physical mentality.”
After last weeks’ spring practice and football game, Bennett and the offense showed lots of promise for the upcoming season, the final score being led by the offensive team 52-40. The major transition from Oregon to Louisiana for Bennett came after a lot of careful consideration, but the choice to stay in Hammond was easy after meeting his future Lion family.
“I came out here, and I got to know some of the players and the coaches,” Bennett said. “I just felt that this would be a comfortable spot for me to finish up my college career and I’m happy with the decision I’ve made. I’m going to make the best of it and bring everything to this team that I can. There are a lot of good guys on this team that want to win and I want to be as much of a help as I can to bring us all together and go win the conference championship.”
To win that Southland Conference championship, the Lions will have to band together in ways they never have before. New recruits on the team make finding that balance somewhat challenging but, according to Bennett, with teamwork and “horizontal leadership” anything is possible.
“Everybody should know,” Bennett said, “that every day we, [as a team], have to get better. If you want to be great, you’ve got to be better than your previous self, and if everyone can buy into that, I think the sky is the limit for us.”