NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjack team held their first fall football practice under new head coach Colby Carthel Friday morning.
More than 100 players participated in the first day of practice, which saw no injuries. The team is returning 41 total letter winners, including 17 on offense, 23 on defense, and one on special teams.
The 'Jacks welcome back a total of 18 starters from 2018 with eight returning on the offensive side of the ball, nine on the defensive side, and one specialist.
“I told the guys the first meeting that everything is open,” Head Coach Colby Carthel said.
That statement is never more true then at the quarterback position. After last season the thought around campus was that senior Jake Blumrick would be the player to lead the Jacks in the first year of the Carthel Coaching Era. That appears to not be the case after it was announced at the Southland Conference Media Day that Blumrick was forced to undergo two back surgeries in the summer.
After the first day of practice it appears Trae Self and Cam Arnold are the two quarterbacks to keep an eye on. According to the online roster, The Jacks have 6 more to choose from.
“We have several capable bodies at the quarterback position and I think we will be in good hands whoever is out there.”
Self was a two sport letter winner at North Richland Hills High School in the Dallas area. After High School Self went to Butler Community College in Kansas. Self led the Grizzlies to a 2018 Midwest Classic Bowl victory by throwing for 133 yards and a touchdown, in addition to rushing for 21 yards and a score. For the year he completed 129 passes for 1,774 yards and 15 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2018.
After red shirting his freshman season at SFA, Cam Arnold is making his debut. Arnold was part of the first Cy-Fair High School Bobcats Bobcats team to win a state championship. He did it as a senior in 2017. Arnold went 15-0 as the starting quarterback and claimed the Class 6A Division II title, going 17-of-24 for 158 yards and two touchdowns in a semifinal upset to reach the state championship game. In his senior year Arnold threw for 2,012 yards and accounted for 26 touchdowns as a senior.
Those stats are good but those are in the past. All that matters know is how they perform on Saturday. The crop of healthy quarterbacks are looking to grow form the knowledge that Blumrick brings on the sideline.
“Jake is a really good friend of mine and he mentored us last year,” Arnold said. “We hang out all the time. It sucks that he is out. The next person has to step up and be competitors.”
The group of play makers are looking to feed off of each other and push each other to success on the field.
“All these guys are good competitors,” Self said. “We are going to go at it every day. You cannot control who the starter is. It is up to the coaches. I love competing with these guys. At the end of the day it is what it is. You just have to roll with it.”
When the whistle blows to start the game at Baylor on August 31, only one man will lead the team on the field. There is a good chance multiple players will have their number called to lead the offense. That means it is necessary for the players to present a united front as quarterbacks.
“We are already like family,” Self said. “We hang out after this. It is just going out there and having fun with your friends.”
“If you are a good team, you have a strong group of quarterbacks,” Arnold said. " You have people to help you lead. That is what we have been doing in the summer. Getting the guys out here and running routes and stuff, getting ready for fall camp. Now it is here and we need to lead them."
The 'Jacks have 19 spring practices left before opening up the season Aug. 31 at Baylor.
Below is the Lumberjacks full team practice schedule:
Saturday, Aug. 3 | 7:30-10:00 a.m. | Helmets
Sunday, Aug. 4 | 6:30-9:00 p.m. | Shells
Tuesday, Aug. 6 | 7:30-10:00 a.m. | Shells
Wednesday, Aug. 7 | 7:30-10:00 a.m. | Full pads
Thursday, Aug. 8 | 7:30-9:30 a.m. | Shells
Friday, Aug. 9 | 7:30-10:00 a.m. | Shells
Saturday, Aug. 10 | 7:30-10:00 a.m. | Shells
Scrimmage #1 | Sunday, Aug. 11 | 6:30-9:00 p.m. | Full pads
Tuesday, Aug. 13 | 7:30-10:00 a.m. | Shells
Wednesday, Aug. 14 | 7:30-10:00 a.m. | Shells
Thursday, Aug. 15 | 7:30-10:00 a.m. | Shells
Friday, Aug. 16 | 7:30-10:00 a.m. | Shells
Saturday, Aug. 17 | 7:30-10:00 a.m. | Shells
Scrimmage #2 | Sunday, Aug. 18 | 6:30-9:00 p.m. | Full pads
Tuesday, Aug. 20 | 7:30-9:30 a.m. | Helmets
Wednesday, Aug. 21 | 7:30-10:00 a.m. | Shells
Thursday, Aug. 22 | 7:30-10:00 a.m. | Shells
Friday, Aug. 23 | 7:30-10:00 a.m. | Shells
Saturday, Aug. 24 | 7:30-9:30 a.m. | Shells
*all practice times are subject to change dependent on weather conditions