Defense, dancing dragon highlight TU?Spring Game

Tyler Erwin knew the spring game was over when saw the Dragon mascot dancing behind the linebackers.

Erwin, a Buckeye Central graduate who is competing with two others for Tiffin University’s starting quarterback spot, appeared to be ready to run a play when the mascot danced onto the field.

Moments later, TU players on each sideline ran to the center of the field and celebrated.

“We had that planned out beforehand,” Erwin said. “That was fun.”

Coach Gary Goff only hopes to see that celebration numerous times this fall.

The Green team, mainly made up of the defense, defeated the White team 42-14 Saturday at Frost-Kalnow Stadium. The defenders were spotted a 14-0 lead to start.

“It didn’t look like defense made many mistakes at all,” Goff said. “I’m very pleased with the way our secondary is coming along throughout the spring.”

Goff said he was especially encouraged by the play of TU’s safeties.

“Brandon Person and Stefan Willis are tough,” he said. “They’re really good players. Willis started the last six games of the season for us and got honorable mention all conference [in 2012]. I think the young man is gonna be a force to be reckoned with in the conference for some time.

“Person at the strong safety position, he’s got the body of a linebacker and can run like a receiver. So we’re very pleased with defense. This recruiting class, we added a lot of depth to the defensive line and a lot of size to the defensive line. I think on that side of the ball, we’re in good shape right now.”

The defense forced four turnovers in the scrimmage, while quarterback Nick Merrick threw a pair of touchdown passes – a 60-yard catch and run to Jeremy Armstrong and a 62-yard deep throw to Pedro Correa.

The coaching staff got a look at Merrick, Erwin and Alfred State transfer Joey Frendo at quarterback.

“We’ve got a good situation going on right now with three quarterbacks competing for the job,” Goff said. “I thought all three did some good things; all three made some mistakes.”

Frendo came to TU mid-year, and Goff said he has about 15 practices in. Because of that, he’s still in the process of learning the offense.

“He’s got a live arm, he’s a smart young man,” Goff said. “I think every rep he’s gonna get better and better, but he’s got to grasp the offense, understand the progressions that we need to go through in it.”

In Erwin, Goff said he has a winner.

“That’s probably his biggest tool right now; he won’t let the guy next to him out-do him,” Goff said. “There’s a young man from (Buckeye Central) that went to the state championship game and he’s got that winning attitude.”

Erwin was candid when asked how he thought he did Saturday.

“Today I don’t think I did as good as I could have,” the former BC star said. “I know all spring I just kept working and studying as much as I could, and I figure I improved a ton since the fall.”

The other quarterback in the conversation is Merrick, who was redshirted in 2012.

“Nick did a really good job,” Goff said. “As he gets more snaps, he’s going to become better and better. Obviously we’ve got to name a starter; that probably won’t take place until we get into fall camp, because I believe all three of them are neck-and-neck right now.”