“It was a ton of fun because first of all we were successful,” says Field, who played virtually the entire game filling in for Brandon Cox, who was out of action unexpectedly with a pre-game virus.
“That is major because once you know you are successful you don’t need to worry about what is going wrong,” Field says. “We kept moving the ball down the field and making plays. That is what made it fun.”
In addition to enjoying himself on Saturday, on Tuesday the Southeastern Conference named the quarterback the SEC Freshman of the Week. He was 13-22 for 200 yards passing with three touchdown passes.
Offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Al Borges says he wishes Cox would have been able to get another start under his belt before the Tigers return to SEC action, but says he doesn’t believe that will be a big setback to Cox or the offense. Borges also says that getting the inexperienced Field four quarters of game experience could prove to be “a blessing in disguise.”
“I thought the kid did a heck of a job when you consider he didn’t even know he was going to play until literally, and I am not exaggerating, 45 minutes before we kicked it off,” Borges adds. “I walked to him down at the tunnel and I said, ‘You know Cox is sick, you are going to have to play.’ He kind of looked at me like I had 10 heads, but he handled it real well.”
Blake Field won the backup QB spot in preseason practice.
Field says that he thinks he had a solid first college start, but notes after watching video of his performance against Western Kentucky he learned a lot. “I have got to get quicker on my reads and progressions,” he says. “There were some receivers open who I didn’t see on Saturday.”
Borges says he likes the way that the offense rallied around the new starter at quarterback. Field says that is something he appreciates, too.
“Marcus McNeill came to me before the game and said, ‘Blake, we are behind you or more likely, in front of you.’ They said they would take of me. I believe in my linemen and I trust in them.
“I love offensive linemen,” Field adds with a smile. “I am not saying this just to get me on their good side. I am serious. They take care of me no matter what. I got to work with them during two-a-days and that helped a whole lot. I know they stepped it because we have a good group of seniors. They did what they needed to do for us to be successful.”
Field won praise from several of the linemen for hanging tough in the pocket and taking a few shots, including a late hit, to give his receivers time to get open. The redshirt freshman says, “You don’t really think about it in a game. All you are worried about is getting the ball and making some completions. I took some shots, but all I care about is we made the completions. I am sore yes, but we made some plays and got some penalties.”
Field and the Tigers will be back on the practice field on Tuesday as they look to improve their overall mark to 4-1 and their SEC record to 2-0 as South Carolina visits Jordan-Hare Stadium for a 6 p.m. start.