New QB Rivalry?
College rivals now compete on the pro stage
By "Aki Kurikawa"
(Charlotte) - They were rivals in college for the national championship. Bill Kay at Alabama and Steve Walker at THE Ohio State University. They faced each other in the final game often, and in the end, they split down the middle, neither gaining overall bragging rights.
They both had their doubters in New York, but both were drafted in the last USAFL draft. Both started immediately.
While their teams fortunes ended up quite differently due to Carolina's rebuild leading to a forgettable 0-14 season, most observers want to see this rivalry play out in the professional ranks long term.
'I think it will be like Brady and Manning in the old days,' said a Carolina fan. 'You know we play the Ravens for all the marbles a lot, so it's gonna be great!'
Panthers fans are optimistic about their guy when he isn't running for his life as he did behind a suspect young offensive line this last season. But that's part of rebuilding as their GM knows. He has done it many times over the years, but they haven't gone 0-14 since way back in the 2146 season.
'Did I think we were going to be 0-14?' Remley joked. 'Heck no. Do I think he is going to show us a lot in the future? Heck yes, and our equally young backup David Whitefield is going to keep pushing him because he's no slouch either.'
Walker wasn't the only rookie to make an impression on Carolina this last season. Most notably, third round WR Sean Clark was among the league leaders in receiving and first round pick S Joe Fryar was second in the league in tackles.
With 40 players on the roster with three years experience or younger and seven more picks coming up in the upcoming draft, this is a young team who is going to compete together for quite some time. It remains to be seen what success they will have against the always tough competition in the USAFL.