Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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UT's Dantin hopes to build on experience

In the lead-up to last Friday's season-opener against Arizona, University of Toledo coach Tim Beckman gave the starting nod at quarterback to Austin Dantin, but also made it clear that the sophomore more than likely wouldn't take every snap.

Sophomore David Pasquale was utilized as the Rockets' quarterback in the "wildcat" formation last season, and Beckman said Pasquale would again fill that role this season.

That never materialized, however, as Dantin was behind center for every play the offense ran against the Wildcats, even when the game was well out of reach in the fourth quarter of a 41-2 blowout.

"I don't think it was anything other than we thought we needed to get Austin as many reps as we possibly could," Beckman said Monday. "He's still very young, and we are very young at that position. We're very young at wide receiver also, so all those guys have to get together and work with one another."

Dantin was 14-of-23 passing for 103 yards and an interception against Arizona, as the offense was shut out for the first time since last year's 38-0 loss to Ohio State at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

"Of course we wanted to be more productive than we were," Beckman said. "But we felt it was necessary to keep him in the game."

Dantin made three starts last season in place of an injured Aaron Opelt, so a lack of game experience wasn't necessarily at fault for the Rockets' poor offensive showing.

"We just need to execute better," Dantin said. "That's the biggest thing - not shooting ourselves in the foot. There were a lot of times where we ended up in bad situations, like second and long, or we got a penalty that hurt us and kept us from getting a first down."

While breaking down the film from the Arizona contest, Dantin said he found some positives that the Rockets can take into Saturday's Mid-American Conference opener at Ohio.

"We moved the ball pretty well at times but we just want to be consistent," Dantin said. "Consistency is really what's going to help us win that game [Saturday]."

Beckman revealed that senior defensive end Douglas Westbrook did not play against Arizona due to a two-game suspension for breaking a team rule.

Beckman did not elaborate on what rule Westbrook broke or when it occurred.

"Doug broke a team policy," Beckman said. "Our policy is to make sure that we're all obeying what we're supposed to be obeying."

Westbrook started all 12 games last season and finished with 24 tackles and two sacks. He also led the Rockets with three interceptions and was second on the team with eight tackles for a loss.

Beckman said sophomore safety Jermaine Robinson, who was wearing a cast on his left hand Monday that extended just above the wrist, would play against the Bobcats after injuring his thumb.

Junior cornerback

Taikwon Paige will also play, Beckman said, after sitting out the Arizona game while still recovering from an unspecified knee injury that kept him out of action for much of training camp.

Freshman defensive lineman Zac Rosenbauer broke his collarbone during preseason practices, Beckman said, and will be sidelined until at least the Purdue contest later this month.

Freshman receiver Cassius McDowell will miss the season after tearing his ACL two weeks ago.

The Rockets will host a free youth clinic at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Glass Bowl.

There will be an emphasis on the defensive line position, but all children ages 6-14 are invited to participate.

Call director of football operations Tom Manning at 419-530-3637 for more information.

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