Freshman quarterback unfazed in new role

Humility.

It’s the quality of being humble.

It’s also a characteristic freshman quarterback Randy Wright undoubtedly possesses on the football field.

“I think it’s just my personality,” Wright said. “I’m always calm. I enjoy playing football and there’s nothing to get big-headed about. It all goes back to the fact that I’ve been playing my whole life. I truly enjoy doing it.”

Despite Wright’s past successes, he is now “a work in progress,” according to coach Bob Biggs, but he’s making strides.

The Santa Rosa, Calif. native lost a total of three games in his career at Cardinal Newman High School before graduating in 2009.

He even captured all-state honors and won All-North Bay League Co-MVP after leading his team to the California Division III Bowl Championship game in his senior season.

With a supportive family and an older brother playing at the collegiate level, Wright always knew he would play college football.

Little did he know, however, that he’d face the opportunity to earn the starting quarterback job in his second campaign as an Aggie.

“When the coaches told us [junior starter Greg Denham] left in late spring, we were all shocked and wide-eyed,” Wright said. “It was open competition.”

Later in the summer before the 2010 season, Biggs announced that Wright would fill Denham’s position as the team prepared to face the California Golden Bears on the road.

Wright didn’t feel any first-game anxiety on the hour-and-a-half-long bus ride on the way to that Berkeley. He wasn’t even nervous when he arrived at Memorial Stadium where over 58,000 fans waited to watch the game.

“We went up into the locker room about 20 minutes before the game,” Wright said. “That’s when it hit me. I started getting nervous and jittery. Then we went back down and once I got on the field I wasn’t nervous. It was like home to me.

“Once you get on the field it’s just football again.”

Despite Wright’s demeanor, the Aggies struggled to keep up with the Bears’ fast tempo, losing 58-3.

Though Wright was sacked once and threw for just 57 yards, he kept his composure throughout, and things have been getting easier as the season has progressed.

After six contests, the game is gradually slowing down around Wright, and the Aggies are 3-3 overall and 1-0 in the Great West Conference on the year.

The young quarterback is improving with each outing, said Biggs. The progress is evident in the statistics as Wright has thrown for a total of 1,195 yards so far this season, including a high of 261 against San Diego. He has also connected with 12 different receivers and thrown just three interceptions on the year.

Does the improved performance mean that he’s satisfied with where he stands as an athlete?

“Absolutely not,” Wright said. “There’s always room to get better. When you’re content, that’s when you don’t get better.”

Biggs believes that as long as Wright stays the course, this humility – this never believing he’s “there” – will eventually take him a long way.

“Some guys have that burning passion in the pit of their stomach, but on the outside they’re very controlled,” Biggs said. “Randy is like that – he’s more controlled.

“He gets mad at himself when he doesn’t do things well, and that’s good. I want him to be that way.”

More importantly, Biggs said, Wright wants to be that way.

“He wants to be successful, and that’s a quality that you look for,” Biggs said. “Randy is the kind of person that wants to raise his game, and he understands that it’s a process. He’s a quick learner, and he’s got a lot of skills.”

Wright knows his work is cut out for him, having set a personal goal to keep gaining momentum each week.

With opponents loading defenders on the line of scrimmage, he has been forced to make short passes to get the ball down the field little by little.

He’s fully aware of why teams do this, too.

“If there are more guys on the line of scrimmage, it’s harder to run the ball,” Wright said. “They do that because I’m a freshman quarterback, and they don’t think I can beat them with the pass.

“I’m not proven as a quarterback.”

As far as his hopes for the upcoming schedule, Wright is focused on his veteran teammates.

“Playoffs are still in reach,” he said. “If we make a good run in the next five games, we can hopefully get our seniors into the playoffs for our first time.”

GRACE SPRAGUE can be reached at sports@theaggie.org

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