Fresno State has had four starting quarterbacks in seven games thus far, and baring any injury to current starting quarterback RS-Freshman Kilton Anderson, four will be all that is needed. Anderson came into fall camp pitted deep in the depth chart, behind co-starters RS-Sophomore Zach Greenlee, true frosh Chason Virgil, and West Virginia transfer Ford Childress. The quarterback of the future was set on Virgil, the herald recruit from West Mesquite HS, in Mesquite, Texas, was tabbed as the heir apparent to Derek Carr.
Plans change, and in Fresno State's case they changed quickly, and weekly. In a span of five weeks, the Bulldogs not once had a signal caller start consecutive weeks. Up until the past two games, the last time Fresno State had a quarterback start consecutive weeks, was week one and week two.
Virgil was going to be the starter moving forward, but a broken clavicle in week three ended his promising freshman campaign, Childress suffered a season ending injury in week four, and Greenlee missed a game due to suspension, and benched after week 5 following the loss to San Diego State.
The offense mustered six first downs, and 89 total yards. Enter Mr Anderson, a reference for all the Matrix fanatics. The way he has played during his first two starts, he may very well be the one. The offensive numbers have improved in nearly every category.
Anderson made his first career start two weeks ago against arguably the best defense in the Mountain West, and one of the best in the country, in Utah State.
(Just ask Boise State) he did have some growing pains with three interceptions, but the upside and raw ability was there. Perhaps the more telling point is that Anderson looks like a leader, looks very confident, doesn't have the classic dazed look in his eyes, and he want's to get better, he doesn't want to make the same mistake twice.
"We just need to come together as a team right now, come back tomorrow work and get better, and come out and play our best against UNLV, we got to move on to the next one." Kilton Anderson said. "Trust each other and come together as a unit. An offense is like a machine and all parts have to be running together and it just didn't happen tonight, and like I said we'll get back together tomorrow and figure it out."
You have your fourth string quarterback talking like this after another lopsided loss, at home, which happened to be homecoming weekend. You notice the grit, determination, wanting to get better, wanting to right the ship, knowing that
if it weren't for injuries he'll still be holding a clipboard, with a backwards cap on. You can bet the house, Anderson is going to do everything in his power to make it a quarterback competition, knowing that Virgil is looking on, healing, and waiting for the offseason program to start.
Being a young quarterback you want to see improvement week to week, game to game, and so forth. For Anderson, game two was just that. He improved, the offense improved, they were moving the chains, sustaining drives, scoring points, and most importantly no turnovers. Oh, by the way Anderson led the offense to his first career come from behind victory, down by two scores entering the fourth quarter.
He ran the option like if he's been running it for a long time. He rushed for nearly 100 yards, to go along with his first and second career rushing touchdowns. Had almost 200 yards in the air, and over 400 yards of total offense. The offense was opening up, got Freshman All-American tight end Chad Olsen involved, who's been a non-factor up to this point. The same can be said about Marteze Waller, who finally had his breakout game.
The game slowed down, and Anderson ran with it.
"I was definitely a lot more comfortable tonight, getting a lot of reps in practice with the ones, definitely calm me down a lot. I was able to make the reads tonight and be a lot more comfortable in the pocket and just move the ball down field." Kilton Anderson said after the UNLV victory.
Head coach Tim DeRuyter doesn't want to look ahead to 2016, but if Anderson pulls off some more wins, goes into the offseason with momentum, who's to say that he won't be number one on the depth chart? "What can you say about Kilton? (Anderson) A kid who's getting 14 reps in August, thinking that this was going to be another learning year for him. He gets pressed to be our starting quarterback, you know a week ago. He's down two scores and he doesn't flinch." Fresno State Head Coach Tim DeRuyter.
One thing is certain, and that is Anderson has five games remaining to stake his claim, and be the guy. Who knows, maybe Mr Anderson is the heir apparent, should be for a fun rest of the season.