KSU spring football: Paul Haynes won’t name starting quarterback until August

By Stephanie Storm
Beacon Journal sports writer

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Kent State quarterback Colin Reardon (10) hands off the ball during practice at Dix Stadium last season. (Paul Tople/Akron Beacon Journal)

KENT: Kent State football coach Paul Haynes doesn’t want to talk about a starting quarterback just yet.

It’s still spring practice, and that’s why Haynes has not made his quarterback candidates available to the media.

Haynes isn’t ready to talk about the Golden Flashes’ quarterback options for the 2013 season following the graduation of four-year starter Spencer Keith, but that doesn’t make it less of a hot topic.

Although Haynes said he doesn’t plan on naming a starter until a week or so before the Flashes host Liberty in the season opener Aug. 29, here’s a look at the players in the mix:

With a year at KSU under his belt, transfer David Fisher appears to have a slight edge.

A 6-foot-1, 220-pound, fifth-year senior, Fisher played sparingly last year after Keith beat him out for the starting job. But Fisher has a strong arm coupled with the ability to make things happen with his feet that make him a tantalizing dual-threat option.

“Even though he didn’t play a lot, David’s got the experience factor,” said quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Brian Rock, who ultimately went with Keith in a close competition last season because Fisher had a penchant for being a risk taker with the ball. “He’s been in the system for an extra semester and actually took a lot of reps in practice last year.”

Don’t count out 6-foot-1, 202-pound sophomore Colin Reardon. A fast study last season, Reardon made up ground in fall camp after passing for 1,100 yards, rushing for 278 and scoring 10 touchdowns as a senior at Poland Seminary.

“Colin is very talented and has proven he can make some good plays,” Rock said. “They both have good arm strength. What I’m trying to do right now is put them in uncomfortable situations and watch how they react. I’m throwing them out there in a two-minute drill and letting them call it.

“I’ve always said that the guy who’s going to be the starter isn’t always going to be the most talented. It’s going to be the guy who can move the team and takes care of the ball by making good decisions.”

Unlike last season, where offense-minded coach Darrell Hazell had a big say in choosing the quarterback, the defense-minded Haynes will likely lean on Rock a little more to make the final decision. For now, the only thing Haynes will say about the battle between Fisher and Reardon is that he likes what he’s seen so far.

“I’ve seen enough to believe one of them can lead the team,” Haynes said. “We continue to talk to them about managing the game. We don’t need them to thread needles. We just need them to move the ball, get first downs, manage the game and not put the defense in bad positions.”

In a couple of months, there will be a third competitor. Nathan Strock, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound freshman from Tri-Valley High School was a first-team All-Ohio selection as a junior and senior.

Building in levels of competition is something Rock believes will keep a starting quarterback on his toes.

“Like every other position on the field, our quarterback has perform to keep his job,” Rock said.

That’s why it wasn’t much of a surprise Monday to see another potential Flashes quarterback of the future standing on the sideline at Dix Stadium. Chayse Crouch, a junior at Newark Catholic who is rated among the best quarterbacks in Ohio, visited practice for an early look at what might be his future competition.

Stephanie Storm can be reached at sstorm@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Kent State blog at http://www.ohio.com/flashes. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SStormABJ.

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