BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Samford football goes into spring practice with plenty of experience on offense.
Senior quarterback Devlin Hodges is one of 10 starters that return on that side of the ball. Hodges was the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 when he threw for 3,983 yards and 39 touchdowns. The Bulldogs reached the FCS Playoffs for the second straight year, but lost to Kennesaw State in the first round.
The postseason is the goal again in 2018 but there are some stats to keep an eye on during Samford's playoff pursuit. Hodges is 4,195 yards behind FCS career passing yardage record, a mark currently owned by the late Steve McNair (14,496 yards at Alcorn State, 1991-94). Hodges would have to have his best statistical season to pass McNair. Head coach Chris Hatcher says he's never paid much attention to his players statistics, but does think Hodges, who a third year starter in the system, could see his numbers spike.
"As we well know, with the type of offense that we run, he's got to have a big year in order for us to be successful," Hatcher said. "So that's just the nature of what we do offensively."
"I mean I've read about it and what-not, and I mean someone's got to do it and I'm not going to lie, it would be pretty cool to do all of that," Hodges said. "I've got a great group of guys around me that can catch the ball, block for me, run the ball, on the defensive side, I mean everyone it's going to take all of them for me to even think about doing all of that."
In terms of the FCS record, Hodges experience works in his favor. His receivers are just as seasoned. Kelvin McKnight and Chris Shelling accounted for 52 percent of the team's passing yards, and 61 percent of the touchdown catches in 2017.