*PRINT ONLY* Football

Jay Bushen


SUBHEAD: New quarterback, wide receivers shine in GV spring game

By Jay Bushen

[email protected]

Hopes are high for the flowing-haired frontrunner at quarterback. Fans saw why on Saturday.

Bart Williams looked comfortable in the pocket all afternoon during Grand Valley State’s spring scrimmage. Williams had complete command of the offense, calmly showcasing his potential with plenty of tight spirals and well-placed throws down the sidelines.

“He’s a gunslinger,” said wide receiver Urston Smith. “He knows the offense. He’s always in the team room watching film…I’m excited to play with him. He’s going to make some big plays.”

Williams, a will-be sophomore, is currently winning the position battle with classmate Ollie Ajami. Both played well, but Williams appeared to have a slight edge.

The 6-foot-5 Grand Blanc High School product is described as a “player’s player” and someone who can get along with anyone on the team.

“I relate to a lot of people,” he said.

He was working without three of his top four receivers in the scrimmage. Jamie Potts and Matt Williams were playing for the baseball team across campus; Brandon Bean was traveling with the track and field team.

In their absence, the quarterback has been building a rapport with the likes of Smith, Joe Robbins and Troy Sassack in practice. All three showed flashes in the spring game.

“I’ve been throwing to them the first 14 practices, developing a little bond with them and knowing where they’re going to be,” Williams said. “It’s fun throwing to them. They’re running good routes and catching the ball when it gets to them. It’s a lot of fun.”

Robbins was regarded as more of a downfield blocker last season, finishing with 17 grabs for 170 yards and one score, but looked like a dynamic playmaker Saturday. The Petoskey, Mich. native capped two early drives with scores from Williams.

Smith, a 6-foot-2 wideout with the torso of a tight end, used his wide frame to his advantage. He pulled down a touchdown pass from Williams near the pylon with a defender all over him.

“He had a really good spring last year, and then he hurt his PCL,” coach Matt Mitchell said of Smith. “He was really off the table all last fall. He’s big, a really big receiver.

“It’s hard to get around him. He’s got great hands. He’s still got to work on some of his top-end speed, he’s not a burner down the field, but he’s been challenged a lot by our coaching staff and today I think was a positive step forward and he made some progress.”

The Lakers, who finished 6-5 in 2014, look for more progress in the coming months before their 2015 opener against Southwest Baptist at Lubbers Stadium on Sept. 3.