Passing fancy: Webber-to-Gamble passing combo gives Oxford a lift
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Sep 23, 2013 | 2472 views |  0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Oxford junior Tredarian Gamble has helped his team win five straight. (Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Oxford junior Tredarian Gamble has helped his team win five straight. (Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
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OXFORD — Chemistry between Oxford quarterback Ty Webber and wide receiver Tredarian Gamble came quickly.

In fact, the quarterback said it only took one pass.

“When we started practicing together over the summer, throwing some passes and doing some routes, we knew we were going to be good,” Webber said.

Four games into the season, it appears the quarterback was right. The duo has connected 25 times this season for 480 yards and six touchdowns. The rest of the Oxford team has caught 26 passes from Webber for 303 yards and three touchdowns.

And the season isn’t even halfway over.

“Ty didn’t know how good Tredarian was, and I told him all he has to do is throw it up and trust that Tredarian will go get it. It doesn’t have to be the perfect pass — you just have to get it near him,” Oxford coach Ryan Herring said. “I think that now he understands that.”

The dual combo could play an especially big role Friday night when Oxford (2-2) travels to Florence (3-1), which features a top dual-threat quarterback in Kendrick Doss, who has committed to Ole Miss.

Herring said that what makes Gamble, a recent Lincoln transfer, such an interesting case is he is not overly quick, but is just a “smooth receiver.”

“He’s more elusive, stronger and maybe even faster than he looks,” Herring said. “He runs, catches the ball and avoids tackles rather easily, and it looks effortlessly at times.

“But that’s just his style.”

Herring is also quick to point out Gamble is only 50 percent of the success of the combination of juniors.

Webber, who is in his second season as a starter, has improved plenty since throwing three interceptions in the season opener.

The quarterback has completed 51 of 95 passes for 783 yards and nine touchdowns. He also has not thrown another interception in the last three games.

“He has probably gotten more confidence,” Herring said. “He has confidence when to run it, when to throw it and when to throw it away.

“In the first game he threw three interceptions, two that were his fault, but since then he has made pretty good decisions.”

The season’s pinnacle for the duo came in Week 3 against Gadsden City. The Yellow Jackets had yet to win a contest and were in a struggle with the Titans at home. After picking up one first down in the first half, Webber hit Gamble in the third quarter on a screen pass, which Gamble took 49 yards for what turned out to be the only score of the night.

When asked what was going through his mind on the play, Gamble said, “You’ve got to do what it takes to win.”

That win is what changed the season for the Yellow Jackets, which broke out Friday to get its second straight win. Webber and Gamble playing their part in a 42-14 victory over Huntsville.

Webber rushed for 94 yards on 13 carries and threw for 229 yards and four touchdowns, hitting Gamble six times for 179 yards and two of those scores.

“Tredarian has been the go-to guy, making big plays, and he’s kind a game changer for us,” Herring said. “But Ty has done a great job of getting the ball to him, avoiding the rush, having to scramble and hit him a few times and having to throw under pressure. Ty has done a great job just like Big Man has.”

But this week’s task will be the hardest Oxford has faced all season. The Yellow Jackets will travel three hours to face Florence, which has allowed only 40 points in four games.

“Their front four will smother you,” Herring said. “Every film we’ve watched of them we’ve seen four teams have a hard time getting points. Bob Jones usually has great offenses, they scored 13. Gadsden City had seven. Decatur had seven. They’re holding everyone to about a touchdown per game.

“I think it’ll be a low-scoring affair if we have a chance to win. We’ll have to play great defense and make plays happen on offense.”

Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.
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