Wofford coach has plenty of confidence in Collier

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Wofford coach has plenty of confidence in Collier

Postby BestOfBreed on Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:33 am


Wofford coach has plenty of confidence in Collier
By Mike Brown

STATESBORO - How much confidence does Wofford head coach Mike Ayers have in quarterback Josh Collier? Enough to make him the cover boy on the Terriers' media guide.

Collier, a junior from Houston County, struggled at times last year in adapting to running the Terriers' option offense. Wofford posted a 6-5 mark, 3-4 in the Southern Conference, despite losing three of its final five games.

Collier completed only 48-of-123 passes for 617 yards and three touchdowns. He ran for 530 yards and a team high six scores. He had one of his most complete games of the season in leading the Terriers to a 21-17 win over Georgia Southern, running for 91 yards and throwing for 42.

While those were not overwhelming numbers, they were satisfactory enough for the only person who counts.

"Josh is a good football player, especially with our offense," said Ayers, who is known for his patience in developing players. "With the triple-option offense, it all starts with the quarterback, and you've got to have a guy who does the reads.

"There were some folks who said he didn't play all that well, but there are things that happen in a game. He throws an intercept, and it might be because the receiver ran a wrong route or fell down. It might be a pitch that goes bad. There's a lot of things that might go wrong to take away from the quarterback's play."

But in the final analysis, said Ayers, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Collier earned more than passing marks for his play.

Collier will be making his 20th consecutive start for the Terriers on Saturday when Wofford (4-4, 3-2) meets Georgia Southern (3-5, 2-3) at Paulson Stadium.

"When you grade him out he did a lot of really good things," Ayers said. "He was a guy that last year quite frankly was a freshman. He had about 30 snaps the previous year. The things he saw (in the game) we couldn't give him in practice. There are things that happen in games that I hadn't seen before, and I've been coaching 30 years. That's what happens to a quarterback."

Wofford has won two straight games and three of its past four. The Terriers beat Western Carolina 35-7 last week in what Ayers said was their best game of the season. The week before Wofford beat Elon 35-21, and it also owns a 28-20 win over The Citadel. The Terriers' only loss in this stretch was 14-7 to Appalachian State.

Collier, said Ayers, has played very well the past two weeks, and that has coincided with Wofford's two highest scoring games of the season.

Against Elon, he rushed for a career high 128 yards and scored twice. Against the Catamounts, he ran for only 32 yards but completed 2-of-4 passes for 83 yards, including a 61-yard scoring strike to Justin Joslin. Collier also scored once against the Cats.

Collier has run for 246 yards and three touchdowns this season and has 916 yards rushing for his career. He has 416 yards passing, completing 27-of-52 passes and has been intercepted once. He now has 1,067 yards passing for his career.

"He has played extremely well the last two weeks," Ayers said. "He's a guy getting more comfortable with what he's doing and he's athletic enough that he can create problems for you. He's feeling more comfortable with what we're doing, and we've expanded some things offensively. It's been a growing process for him."
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