What to watch: McLaughlin works to take the next step in his development

Published 8:36 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2016

With the Bearcats set to take the field for their first preseason scrimmage Friday night in Lowndes, quarterback is one of the few positions where there is no question about who the starter is. The position battles continue at wide receiver, tight end, offensive line and throughout the defense, but Brett McLaughlin is back at the helm for his second full season as starting quarterback.

“Brett’s done a good job,” offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Scott Roberts said. “I’ve had Brett since the spring of his eighth grade year. It’s been fun to watch him develop into the quarterback that he’s become.”

Last season McLaughlin helped lead the Bearcats to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the state semifinals. He started all 14 games and threw for 2,055 yards and 14 touchdowns.

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The next step in his development will be raising his completion percentage from last season’s mark of 49-percent and cutting down on the 13 interceptions he threw.

“Brett’s gotten better,” Roberts said. “The difference between Brett last year and this year is now he’s starting to understand what defenses are trying to do to him. He did good with that last year, but he’s understanding a little better.”

McLaughlin will also be working to build consistency with a new receivers corps headlined by Zyon McGee.

“Its tough sometime for a quarterback, because you’ve got different guys out there with different speeds,” wide receiver coach Mike Harville said. “I think you can really see that Brett is really developing some confidence in Zyon and confidence in Aaron Spivey. We’ve just to got to develop some confidence there with the rest of the receivers.”

The Bearcats are also looking to build depth after moving Caleb Boutwell to wide receiver and line backer during the summer.

Junior Mark Loeffler is expected to serve as the primary back up with sophomore Alex Baker and freshman Sam Boutwell providing depth.

“Loeffler’s come a long way from last year,” Roberts said. “His arm’s gotten a lot stronger…Sam’s had some arm problems this summer from baseball and we haven’t really been able to see him a lot yet as far as throwing it, but Sam’s a great athlete. We’ve got some kids kind of in line coming through there.”

Check back on Saturday for a preview of the defensive backs.


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