The way the season is going would normally be enough to make a coach feel a bit less chipper than usual.
Throw in allergies kicking up, and it’s not the best week for Fort Valley State head coach Donald Pittman.
The Wildcats are 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the SIAC, and they aren’t in the best of health themselves.
“Nobody’s back as of yet,” Pittman said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
Freshmen Cameron Pearson and Jahyrie Harris are battling it out at quarterback this week.
Antonio Henton has been out since suffering a knee injury against Delta State in the second game.
Then W.J. McAllister sat out last week after getting a head injury Sept. 22 at Benedict.
McAllister struggled in FVSU’s 16-11 loss at Clark Atlanta but made progress against Benedict just in time to get hurt.
Pearson had played a few snaps at quarterback, and Harris had been moved to the secondary before the season because of the logjam at quarterback.
He returned to the offensive side about two weeks ago.
Pearson couldn’t get going after getting the start Saturday against Tuskegee, going 2-for-7 for 51 yards in a half and a couple of plays.
Harris was surprisingly effective despite the lack of work, completing 8-of-15 for 149 yards and a touchdown in the 18-15 loss.
“He played well,” Pittman said. “We knew he had talent. He really played well in a tense environment. They were bringing the heat on him.”
Pittman said it’ll probably take all week to determine who will start, and he hopes to avoid a dual quarterback rotation for Saturday’s game at Kentucky State.
Running back Brandon Anderson (ankle) and defensive back Dajuan Williams (leg) are out this week, as well.
For all of the assorted issues on offense, one consistency plaguing the Wildcats this year are penalties.
They had 14 in the loss to Tuskegee, their second 14-flag game this season. They survived that many at Benedict but lost 183 yards on 12 flags in the loss to Clark Atlanta.
It appears SIAC stat programs, however, are incorrectly correctly figuring, among other things, penalty yardage by including yards that a penalty nullified, and have been doing so for awhile.
For example, the game stats for FVSU’s game against Clark listed penalty yardage lost of 43, 46 and 26 yards when all three should have been only 10 yards.
Nevertheless, the number of flags -- third most in the SIAC -- is accurate and painful.
“When you look at it, the penalties, that’s what really hurt us,” Pittman said, noting especially in the Tuskegee game. “Certain situations, kept one of their drives going, we had a couple good returns called back.
“I think that’s the biggest issue right there.”