Opelika quarterback Brody Davis has bided his time the last few years as a backup quarterback. In two days, he’ll finally get his chance to be the guy.
Davis will be the starting quarterback when Opelika takes on Callaway at home Thursday in the Bulldogs’ season opener. For Davis, the opportunity is a product of patience and improvement that he hopes leads to a spectacular senior season.
“(Taking over as starter) has been smooth,” Davis said. “Last year, I was behind Cade (Blackmon). During practice we usually split the reps, but he's the one who got all the game reps. I still know everything. I think I'm capable physically of switching into the role as the starter.”
Davis may be Opelika’s new number one on the depth chart, but he’s no stranger to the field.
Davis has been thrust into action at times for the Bulldogs, including during his sophomore season when Blackmon went out with injury. Davis stepped up and led Opelika to a 41-14 win over Chilton County before getting hurt during the Bulldogs’ showdown with rival Benjamin Russell.
Davis came back strong shortly thereafter, which included throwing for 230 yards in a win over Helena.
“Brody's done a great job of being the next guy. That's one of the hardest positions — playing the backup quarterback spot,” Opelika head coach Erik Speakman said. “You think you should be in there, but you need to learn because you're always one play away. Brody's done a great job of following Cade, looking at what Cade does and Jake (Bentley) before that and even growing up probably watching Matthew Christian a few years ago.”
“It was good because I got some exposure that'll be needed for this year,” Davis said about playing earlier in his career. “I know what's coming.”
Davis backed up Blackmon through his run at Opelika, and he said his time behind Samford’s newest quarterback helped him grow tremendously. Along with the football lessons, Davis took away life lessons from Blackmon that can help Davis become an even better leader.
Blackmon watched Davis closely over the years. Now that Davis is leading the way, Blackmon has nothing but confidence in his former teammate.
“I think Brody has all the physical tools to be the guy,” Blackmon said. “The thing that sticks out most about Brody is his natural upbeat personality. As a quarterback, it’s key to always lead by example and have a positive attitude no matter the circumstances. Brody has that gift naturally.
“He’s a great teammate, and he’s ready to lead this team. It’s his team now, and I think he will do a great job.”
Despite his experience, Davis wasn’t just handed the job this summer. Speakman said the coaches watched Davis and the other two quarterbacks intently through the offseason to see who showed up in meetings and made their presence as a leader known.
Ultimately, Davis did enough to earn their complete confidence.
Speakman pointed out Davis has been in the same offense since he was in eighth grade, which will help him settle into the bigger role. Speakman said the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Davis brings a big, athletic body that gives the Bulldogs’ offense a lot of options.
Given the talent surrounding Davis in the receiving corps, there’s promising signs that Opelika can put together another strong offense. Senior wide receiver Omar Holloway has been pleased with what he’s seen from Davis as he’s prepared throughout the summer.
“He wants to get better,” said Holloway, who is coming off a 600-yard season. “He takes coaching very well, even from the receivers. If we see different things than he sees, we tell him and he takes it well.”
Davis has eagerly waited behind the likes of Blackmon and learned as much as he could behind those starters. Now it’s Davis’ time to shine, and he’s eager to prove it was well worth the wait.
“I'm very excited,” Davis said. “I think we're capable of a state championship. It's going to take hard work, not giving up and not quitting.”