SMYRNA — It was going to take more than one defender and an arm tackle to bring down Jamie Jarmon.
Sure enough, the former Indian River High star quarterback cut inside the would-be-tackler, stiff-armed his way past him and tumbled into the end zone on a short touchdown run.
Just like old times.
“It was like a little flashback moment,” Jarmon said with a smile. “It was cool.”
For Jarmon, returning to the football field at Delaware has been a gradual process this spring.
On Saturday, Jarmon got to feel what it was like to take a hit again. While the other three QBs wore red jerseys during the Blue Hens’ ‘Downstate Day’ practice session at Smyrna High, Jarmon wore a blue one.
That meant Delaware’s defensive players were free to tackle him. Jarmon said his was his idea.
“I love it,” he said. “I wanted to be physical like everyone else. I mean there’s no red shirt on when the game starts. It’s been a while for me. I need to get the feeling of being hit again.”
Jarmon, who spent the last three summers playing minor-league baseball, is in a three-man battle for Delaware’s wide-open starting quarterback job.
It was clear on Saturday that things are still very much for grabs between Jarmon, former Rutgers transfer Blake Rankin and redshirt freshman Joe Walker.
But with Jarmon going “live” in the session, it showed how Delaware might use the sturdidly-built 21-year-old. The 6-foot-1, 225-pounder was able to pick up some short yardage on a few read-option plays while also scrambling for 36 yards on a rollout pass.
Coach Dave Brock said playing live allowed Jarmon to use some of his “natural skills.”
“From his standpoint, I liked what I saw,” said Brock. “I think he’ll play for us in some way, shape or form somewhere. I’m pleased with him.”
With none of the three QBs having taken a real snap in a Delaware uniform, Rankin qualifies as the most experienced. He spent last fall in the program after transferring from Rutgers.
Saturday’s highlight for Rankin was probably his 50-yard lob down the sidelines to receiver Vince Sica.
“I feel really comfortable with the offense,” he said. “It’s stuff I ran last year. I think that’s a strength for me, being in the system for a year, being able to run the offense and know what they’re looking for.
“You come in every day and worry about getting better as a player and as a unit,” Rankin added. “You let the chips fall where they do.”
Walker went through preseason camp with the Hens last August. But the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Philadelphia native couldn’t practice during the fall because of a clearinghouse issue with a high school class.
On Saturday, Walker showed that he has a strong arm but, like Rankin, also threw an interception. Walker did loft a nice 11-yard TD pass to receiver Jerel Harrison in the back of the end zone.
“I don’t think about the competition as I’m going on,” said Walker. “That would make you mess up. You have to have a short memory so, if you do something bad, you have to make progress the next day.”
That’s a philosophy that Jarmon is trying to live by too.
After being out of football for over three years, he knows it’s going to take time for things to come back to him. And the battle for Delaware’s starting QB job isn’t likely to be settled any time soon.
“We’re still learning,” said Jarmon. “It comes with time. If you have a bad day ... I’ve had bad days, a couple of them. But the biggest thing is you’ve got to get in the film room and get it corrected, come back out and be on top of it. Don’t make the same mistakes — make every mistake a learning experience, really.”
Frank Raggo, the frontrunner to be the Hens’ new starting placekicker, hit field goals from 34 and 41 yards. The redshirt freshman is coming off an injury that sidelined him last fall. ... The Delaware soring game is slated for May 2 at noon. ... Defensive backs Simba Gwashavanhu and Maurice Harley had interceptions on Saturday. ... Leon Clarke, a cornerback on the Hens’ 2003 national championship team who is now an associate principal at Smyrna High, talked to the team after the practice. “I think it’s important for them to know the traditions of Delaware football,” he said. “There’s roots there. There’s that tradition of family and taking care of each other and this is part of it.”
Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or email@example.com.