Goldcamp ready as the heir to Coast Guard's quarterback position
New London — Ethan Goldcamp's high school career in Morgantown, W.Va., was as the quarterback in a run-based offense.
“We had really good running backs and a really good line. I spent a lot of time handing off,” Goldcamp said. “For my recruiting tape, I clipped together every 5-yard hitch I completed and sent it in.”
Then he arrived at the Coast Guard Academy, where the Bears, as an example, threw 469 times over 10 games last year for a total of 3,222 yards. Goldcamp, at the beginning, had to sit out warmups prior to practice to rest his arm for the sheer volume of repetitions.
“My freshman year it was chaos,” he said Tuesday from the Coast Guard football offices. “I had no idea what was going on. I was late on everything.”
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Goldcamp is now Coast Guard's starting quarterback: strong-armed and confident.
In one game last season against Catholic, he came off the bench and threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns in a narrow, 37-35 loss.
He has the belief of his receivers, too, three of whom — Cody Bain, Darius Adams and Chip Crowley — started all 10 games last year and combined for 140 catches and 18 touchdowns. On the first day of practice last week, Adams (1,054 yards, 13 TDs) grinned the entire time he answered questions about Goldcamp.
The biggest unknown, however, comes from change.
Goldcamp, a junior, replaces four-year starting quarterback Derek Victory, who graduated with 15 Coast Guard and New England Football Conference records, including the program's career marks for passing yards (7,513), attempts (1,296), completions (721) and touchdowns (50).
It was Victory's knowledge, toughness and personality which became so familiar to the coaching staff.
“He's a little stone-faced,” offensive coordinator Ray LaForte said. “He's a little bit Kenny Rogers-The Gambler pokery. Derek I could make blush. Ethan is a little more cards-to-the-vest.
“He's had a good camp so far, a very solid camp. He's making the reads pretty quick. He's leveling off with his understanding of the pass protections, he's not holding the ball. … I'm really excited about our scrimmage (Aug. 24 vs. SUNY Maritime). We need to put a lot on him. It's his scrimmage. The whole psychology of 'I'm starting. No one's bailing me out.' You're going to make a bad throw.”
Head coach Bill George appreciates Goldcamp's competitiveness.
“He wants to take the job over. He wants to be in there. He wants to have the bull's-eye on him,” George said.
Goldcamp said he learned a great deal from Victory, including his penchant for popping back up after he was hit.
“That can be demoralizing,” Goldcamp said. “I always saw him jump back up. That's leadership.”
But he doesn't feel, necessarily, like he has to be Victory.
There's a sense of excitement that comes over him.
Goldcamp, whose hometown is also the home of West Virginia University, grew up as a big Mountaineers fan. He always played quarterback (Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints was his favorite at the position) and he always wanted to attended a U.S. military academy; for a time, he was considering West Point. Having chosen the Coast Guard instead because he believes its mission best suits him, Goldcamp has played himself into his dream job.
The Bears, 3-7 last season, open the regular season at home, Aug. 31 against Alfred State.
“Sometimes I've got to bring myself back to earth,” Goldcamp said. “I'm really, really excited. I spent the past two years learning under Derek, who was one of the best mentors I could ever ask for. I have all the tools I need to be successful.
“I don't really think about (replacing Victory). I just want to play myself and be the best I can be. … The coolest thing about being the backup is you still practice like you're starting because when I get my chance I have to be prepared. I saw something last year, that (the receivers and I) all meshed pretty well; I got their timing down.
“I really developed here over the last two years.”
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