It's the last day of tryouts for the high school basketball team. Your steady jump shot has devolved into an uncontrolled fire hose. Your crisp passes find more gymnasium walls than open teammates.
Chris Jacquemain and Carlton Jackson commiserate.
With final cuts coming tonight, the performance of both candidates in today's scrimmage only was persuasive to show why they don't deserve the job.
"We looked like a broken machine," said coach J.D. Brookhart, who will decide his starter tonight. "I don't think the quarterbacks, either of them, operated well today."
Aside from one Igor Iveljic field goal, the offense failed to score in the hour-long scrimmage. Jackson was 4-for-7 for 18 yards. Jacquemain was 5-for-10 for 57 yards, including an interception.
The scrimmage began with a dropped pass from Jackson that Brion Stokes returned for a touchdown. A defensive offsides penalty negated that screw up. The offense gave it right back a few plays later on a fumbled option pitch.
Jacquemain's interception came on a deep pass to Alphonso Owen. With defensive back Amin Kabir running stride for stride, both players leaped for the ball and tumbled to the turf. The ball popped in the air without hitting the ground and Kabir nabbed it.
So, in a way, the quarterbacks weren't completely to blame for the huge errors, but they quite simply looked flat. The balls they did complete were dumpoffs or uncontested throws three yards from the line of scrimmage near the sideline.
Of course, you can always credit the defense for applying more effort than last scrimmage, when every Akron quarterback looked like an All-American.
"It was really the reverse of the last scrimmage," Brookhart said. The defense "responded and they played hard."
The quarterback decision will come down to which player won't lose the game. This is obviously a run-first team, and no playmaking ability will overcome a propensity for blowing it.
"I got confidence in Coach," Jacquemain said. "If I'm not the guy, hopefully CJ (Jackson) can lead the team to some wins."
Regardless of today's play, Brookhart's staff has been pleased with the passers' improvement since the spring. This may be a result of the battle between the sophomores.
"They say competition brings out the best in you," Jacquemain said. "This is one of the most competitive things I've ever done in my life."