Head coach David Elson announced after practice today that redshirt senior quarterback Brandon Smith has been named the Toppers’ starting quarterback for the season. Smith is the lone senior on the QB depth chart and has taken a majority of the snaps under center with the first team.
“We looked at enough and decided to go with it,” Elson said. “The important thing for us with a young offense is getting some continuity and we’re rotating those guys. We’re doing what was best for the team. And he deserves it. I mean, he’s earned it. He’s been the most consistent over time through the spring and these first seven practices.”
This was not a surprise from the Topper camp. Smith has been the leader of the offense and has taken the necessary steps to ensure he got the the starting job. He has also looked great in practice, making throws both on the run and in the pocket. Possibly most importantly, Smith has the poise to make those tough pocket throw under pressure, while most of the younger QBs are primarily running signal-callers.
The biggest question will be the experience. Smith has earned the job, but he was given the opportunity due to the transfer of K.J. Black and took advantage of it. Smith has never started a game and rarely had the opportunity to lead up until the spring, so the learning curve will be steep.
He also didnt have the right system to learn under after the graduation of Justin Haddix in 2007, with no true starter emerging in the past two seasons and at least two (and, at some points last season, three) QBs splitting duties. But Smith will be forced to lead, and Elson has seen enough to put the team on his shoulders.