GREENSBORO - There are a lot of red jerseys at the North Carolina A&T football practices, lately. No, the Aggies haven't converted into S.C. State Bulldogs or Delaware State Hornets.
Red jerseys are worn by A&T quarterbacks at practice to signal "stop" to the other players before tackling a QB. There were many times a year ago when Lewis Kindle was the only guy in red when it came to quarterbacks at an A&T practice.
The scene has been very different so far in 2012. Quarterbacks coach Joe Pizzo and Kindle have more company this August during workouts. The Aggies added three new quarterbacks during the offseason. The additional bodies at quarterback are symbolic of the entire A&T football team.
Instead of having a paltry 33 scholarships, the Aggies opened camp with 92 players. There is more depth at every position, which really has head Rod Broadway optimistic about the 2012 season.
"We'll see after camp where we stack up as far as depth is concerned," said Broadway. "We're excited about having our scholarships back and being able to have some young guys in here. Hopefully, those guys we'll develop and not only provide depth, but hopefully some of them can play for us right away."
The extra depth is especially needed at quarterback. In 2011, the Aggies were a Kindle injury away from having to play Ricky Lewis at quarterback. The problem with having Lewis play there was that he was already serving as a running back, wide receiver and kick returner. Depth will allow Lewis to focus on one position, while Kindle's three understudies learn the offensive system. Depth will also enhance Kindle's performance.
"Competition makes everyone better," said Broadway. "We have some guys now that can push (Kindle) and make him a better quarterback."
Kindle doesn't disagree. "Depth is actually a great thing to have," he said. "We brought in three solid quarterbacks, and they're really picking up the system. It's great to have competition. It's real important to have it at the quarterback position. It makes the team better when they know if one guy goes down; another guy can step right in and keep things going. It pushes me to get better every day. No one is above being replaced. It keeps me sharp."
Freshman Dorian Belcher (6-1, 210, Durham, N.C.) is the early favorite to be the No. 2 signal caller behind Kindle. But he doesn't have a huge advantage. Oluwafemi Bamiro (6-4, 190, Washington, D.C.) and Kwashaun Quick (6-1, 180, Laurinburg, N.C.) will also give chase as they try to become the future at the position.
But for now, even with all the upgrades, the main man in red is still Kindle.
"Lewis has gotten so much better, he really has," said Broadway. "And the one thing Lewis has really become is a leader. He's really become one of our better leaders at that's really important for us as a football team."