Tyler Swafford has started only one game as Brentwood Academy’s quarterback, but once the Eagles’ season ended in the Division II-AA semifinals last November, he knew this would be his team in the fall.
This weekend, the senior is leading Brentwood Academy in the 2013 Music City Classic, a seven-on-seven football passing camp at Vanderbilt that ends today.
The quick reads and matchups won’t be anything like football this fall, but they serve as a good warm-up for Swafford and other area quarterbacks to get ready for Friday nights.
“These camps are good for a couple of reasons,” said Brentwood Academy offensive line coach and former Titan (1998-2004) Jason Mathews. “For a quarterback it puts them in a semi-game situation without pressure, but you can see their decision process and you can kind of see their arm and what kind of throws they can make, and what kind of throws they can’t make.”
Swafford is ready for the challenge of leading the Eagles this fall, but he knows he has big shoes to fill at quarterback. Max Staver, who threw for 1,944 yards and 18 touchdowns a year ago, is now at Florida.
“When I came to BA, I didn’t know I’d just get to play my senior year, but I knew I was going to have to compete my butt off,” Swafford said.
Brentwood Academy will also be without receiver/defensive back Jalen Ramsey, who is now at Florida State, and top running back D’Montre Wade, now at Murray State. That means the Eagles will be looking for some new playmakers this fall.
“If you look at our offensive highlights from last year, one of those three players was in probably about 90 percent of them,” Mathews said. “It’s not a ‘poor us, poor us,’ but I will bet that 60 to 70 percent of our offense is gone with signing day.”
Swafford doesn’t look at the players who graduated and feel sorry for himself. He knows Brentwood Academy is expected to win and hasn’t brought home a state championship since the Eagles won their 10th in 2006.
“We still have an amazing group of wide receivers,” Swafford said of the unit led by C.J. Sanders and Brandon Taylor. “The receiving core is as good as you could ask for.”
To begin the season, though, Swafford’s coaches are realistic.
“When you have a blank slate like this, it can go either way,” Mathews said. “If he comes out and throws four interceptions, well, we’re going to start looking at the next kid. So there is some pressure.”
“I like playing under pressure, I always have,” Swafford said. “I think we’re just going to have fun this season and see where it takes us.”
VANDERBILT MUSIC CITY CLASSIC
When: Finishes today
Teams: MBA, Wilson Central, Independence, Lipscomb Acad., Ravenwood, Page, Hickman Co., East Nashville, Brentwood Acad., DeKalb Co., Fairview, Hillsboro, Northeast and Trousdale Co. are among 30 teams participating.
Where: South Warren in Bowling Green, Ky.
Teams: Gallatin, Mt. Juliet, Pope John Paul II, Smith Co., Springfield, White House-Heritage and 10 Kentucky teams
MTSU RICK STOCKSTILL
Teams: Austin (Ala.), BGA, Brentwood, Cane Ridge, Antioch, Clarksville, Collinwood, Columbia Acad., DeKalb Co., Franklin, Hopkinsville (Ky.), Macon Co. Marshall Co., McCallie, Oakland, Page, Shelbyville, Siegel, St. Benedict, Sycamore, Tullahoma, Union City, Upperman, Walker (Ala.), Watertown, Whites Creek
MARYVILLE COLLEGE EAST TENNESSEE
Teams: Cookeville, Livingston Acad. and 32 mainly East Tennessee teams
Teams: Houston Co., Todd Co. (Ky.), Creek Wood, West Creek, Northwest, Montgomery Central
Teams: Cornersville, Wayne Co., Collinwood, Wilson (Ala.), Decatur Co. Riverside
Teams: Station Camp, Mt. Juliet, Pope John Paul II, Trousdale Co., Red Boiling Springs, Cane Ridge, Beech, Portland, Riverdale, Warren Central (Ky.)
TENNESSEE TECH FCA
Teams: Fairview, Grace Chr., Locust Grove (Ga.), Pearl-Cohn, Smyrna, Holston, Mt. Pleasant, Loretto, David Crockett, Page, John Battle (Va.)
Teams: Cane Ridge, Independence, Summit, Page, Fairview
Where: Clarksville High School
Teams: Montgomery Central, Houston Co., Clarksville Acad., Clarksville, Northeast
TENNESSEE TECH WATSON BROWN
Teams: Cleveland, Sequatchie Co., Baylor, Pickett Co., Jackson Co., Livingston Acad., Watertown, DeKalb Co., Cookeville
When: July 20
TENNESSEE STATE MUSIC CITY SHOOTOUT
When: July 20
Teams: List won’t be finalized until Monday.
When: July 20
Teams: Siegel, Blackman, Page, Centennial, Portland, Hillsboro, Brentwood, Ravenwood, Oakland
When: July 20
When: July 22
Teams: Collinwood, Wilson (Ala.), Loretto, Wayne Co., Decatur Co. Riverside
When: July 23
Teams: Spring Hill, Marshall Co., Huntsville (Ala.), Buckhorn (Ky.), Hazel Green (Ala.)