Against Delaware State, David Cone has his moment

QB David Cone (17) plays against Delaware St. at the Big House. Buy this photo

Daily Sports Editor
Published October 18, 2009

3-of-3. 54 passing yards.

Those modest numbers, tallied in the midst of Saturday’s 57-point blowout, were good enough to give David Cone his best game. And as the rest of the Wolverines left the field after singing the Victors, Cone stuck around a little longer.

“It’s pretty sweet. Wish I could get in more,” the redshirt junior said, raising his voice to be heard over the growing “David Cone” chants in the background.

With that, he nodded, turned to walk away and raised his hand casually to acknowledge the fans behind him. The students cheered even louder at the gesture, and quarterbacks coach Rod Smith walked over to the player who was suddenly the center of attention.

“You’re a legend,” Smith laughed, thumping Cone on the back. “You’re a legend.”

In a game where the Wolverines had just trampled Delaware State 63-6 and set a school record with 727 yards of total offense, the fourth-string quarterback could afford to get a little attention.

Cone came into the game with just three game appearances in three years. He was 0-of-2 in garbage time during Michigan’s 31-7 win Western Michigan in the season opener.

On Saturday, with the Wolverines already up 49-3, Cone had the chance to see the field for a little longer. He played the entire fourth quarter except for the last play, when fifth-string quarterback Jack Kennedy came in the game. During Michigan’s final touchdown drive, Cone completed the longest pass of his career, a 29-yard throw to fifth-string wide receiver Ricky Reyes.

“I love that kid to death,” Smith said of Cone. “I said it all along. I got probably as much respect for him and Nick Sheridan than I do anybody, just because of what they went through with the (coaching) changes. They stuck it out and they’ve made the best of it and they’re 100 percent team players. I have the utmost respect for both of them.”

Cone knew he would likely get to play in Saturday’s game after third-string quarterback Nick Sheridan took over for the Wolverines with the score 42-0 in just the second quarter.

“I was trying to get in at wideout, too, to be honest, but it didn’t work,” Cone said. “I took a couple (reps in practice) a couple weeks ago just because I’m tall, but they gotta get some more confidence in me first.”

He said the coaches could potentially use him as a wide receiver in red zone situations because of his height — Cone is listed at 6-foot-7 — but said he has had to jokingly persuade the coaches for reps at wideout alongside the younger players.

That playfulness at practice carries over to the sidelines during games. While starting quarterback Tate Forcier is known for being focused and unfazed by almost everything , Cone is described by his teammates as more of a low-key “comedian”.

“I like to be a bit more witty,” Cone said. “I feel like some dry humor with these guys might go over their heads, you know.”

He continued to crack one-liners while talking about his career game, saying he was hoping his 21-yard pass to LaTerryal Savoy midway through the fourth quarter would make the team’s highlight reel and that he would like to hear the crowd chant his name at least one more time this season. It was no surprise, then, when the thought of Cone was enough to make offensive coordinator Calvin Magee start to chuckle.

“David Cone? I was real excited about David,” Magee laughed. “David was great for us. I was happy for him.”