Hometown Report: Graves cashes in on opportunity at Cal Poly

10/15/2013 12:00 AM

11/09/2013 8:13 AM

The prevailing thought after visiting with Dano Graves at Cal Poly's training camp this summer was this: He is quick to achieve but in no hurry to blunder.

The Bee's Player of the Year in 2010 at Folsom High School was delighted with a fresh start in San Luis Obispo, to be back in California after an unfulfilled experience at Air Force. And, yes, to trek to nearby beaches and caves to lose himself.

Graves emerged from camp as the fourth-string quarterback following a close competition for the starting job.

Last Saturday against visiting Weber State, attrition, injuries and perseverance had Cal Poly coaches looking for new leadership at quarterback.

With injuries and/or poor play sidelining the two incumbent passers in front of him, Graves earned his first start and delivered.

Looking like the Dano of old, Graves tossed three touchdown passes and rushed for 116 yards to steer the Mustangs past Weber State 47-0 for a 2-0 Big Sky Conference start. His backup at the moment is redshirt freshman Tanner Trosin, who followed Graves at Folsom.

Graves transferred to Cal Poly last spring and was, in every regard, the one quarterback of the lot scrambling the most to catch up. He also endured a bad ankle injury in recent weeks, but the sophomore pounced on this opportunity and played relaxed. His parents, David and Angela, were on hand. They were Cal Poly sweethearts when David started in the Mustangs' secondary 25 years ago.

"Hopefully," Dano Graves told reporters Saturday night, "I'm back. You know what I mean? I just need to go out and have fun every week."

The fun continues Saturday at longtime national power Montana, which just beat UC Davis 42-7.

Collie cool

Austin Collie, The Bee's Player of the Decade for the 2000s at Oak Ridge, signed with the New England Patriots less than two weeks ago and stood as an unsung performer Sunday. He caught two passes from Tom Brady for 24 yards on the Patriots' final drive, including a 9-yard grab on fourth and 4 in the closing moments to set up the winning touchdown toss to Kenbrell Thompkins against the New Orleans Saints.

Collie then fired back at media and fans who said he should give up football because of multiple concussions. He tweeted: "2 all of those who said I should walk away, Thank U. 2nite made it all worth it!"

Catching on quickly

San Jose State wide receiver Tyler Winston (Antelope High) has settled in quickly as a true freshman. He had 159 receiving yards and a touchdown against Hawaii on Oct. 5, including a diving 27-yard grab that made ESPN's Top 10 plays. On Saturday, he caught a 62-yard scoring pass from David Fales to power the Spartans past Colorado State 34-27. Winston had eight catches for 151 yards.

A's for Armstead

Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, a UC Davis graduate, raved about sophomore defensive lineman Arik Armstead (Pleasant Grove), telling Ducks media: "He's mentally sharp. He's a hard worker. This kid came in sharp. He learned what it takes to play at this level. He's been really good."

More trouble for Rogers

Reggie Rogers, a 1980s prep star at since-closed Norte Del Rio, was charged last week in Washington with domestic violence/assault against his wife.

Rogers, a defensive end at Washington in the mid-1980s, had his NFL career derailed by repeat DUI arrests. A first-round pick of the Detroit Lions in 1987, Rogers ran a stop sign in Pontiac, Mich., in 1988, slamming into another car that burst into flames, killing three teenagers. Found guilty of negligent homicide, Rogers served a year in prison. He pleaded not guilty to his latest charge.

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.

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