Darvis McBride has made enough of an impression on Fort Myers coach Sam Sirianni Jr. for him to experiment as the 2004 season begins.McBride, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior, played both running back and defensive back last season for the Green Wave.This season, McBride just might be everywhere, at defensive back, running back, fullback and as the starting quarterback.
“He’s got great versatility,” Sirianni Jr. said. “In terms of his character, Darvis is a model. I have always said that McBride’s just a jewel of a kid. He’s the first one in and the last one out.”Known to his teammates as “Wildcat,” McBride earned the nickname as a freshman.
“Every day, he’d wear a different Wildcats T-shirt,” Sirianni Jr. said of McBride, who played for the Pop Warner Wildcats. “You know I’m bad with names, so I just started calling him Cat. Pretty soon, it changed to Wildcat. That’s what everybody calls him.”In previous years, both Sirianni Jr. and his late father, former coach Sam Sirianni Sr., usually groomed an incoming junior to take over as the starting quarterback.After the graduation of Adam Younger, this year’s incoming junior, Tyce Havens, said he didn’t mind sharing the role with McBride.
“He’s a great athlete, and I’d like to think of myself as a great athlete,” Havens said. “We both play the same positions, too, on offense and defense.”Havens, the more experienced quarterback, said he has helped McBride learn that position. Likewise, McBride has helped Havens at defensive back.
“We both have the same kind of style,” Havens said.That interchangeability might keep defenses guessing, Sirianni Jr. said.”As far as quarterback goes, right now I’m comfortable with both of them,” he said during the preseason. “It’s kind of a change for me, being old-fashioned. I told them that I would make a decision (on the starter) by the end of spring. Now, I don’t worry about it, because I’m comfortable with both of them.”
Sirianni Jr. said he likes McBride’s speed and athleticism. Putting him at quarterback means keeping the ball in McBride’s hands.McBride said he worked on his speed by playing capture the flag against 20 youngsters in his neighborhood during the summer.
“It helps me get in shape a little bit,” McBride said.As for where he plays on the field, McBride said he doesn’t care.”As long as I’m on the field,” he said, “it doesn’t matter to me.”