Quarterback battle still undecided

WKU quarterback Nelson Fishback, center, looks for an open receiver during a WKU football team practices on Tuesday April 12, 2016 at L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, Ky. Shaban Athuman/HERALD

John Reecer

As the Hilltoppers head into the last week of spring practice, the coaching staff has still not named a starting quarterback as the competition is still ongoing.

Senior quarterbacks Tyler Ferguson and Nelson Fishback along with redshirt junior Mike White and redshirt sophomore Drew Eckels are the four candidates to replace former Conference USA player of the year Brandon Doughty.

As of press time, the four Hilltoppers are still locked in a tight battle to lead WKU under center when it takes the field on Sept. 1 against Rice University.

“I think right now we are giving equal reps for the most part across the board,” Head Coach Jeff Brohm said. “We have to get them all ready to play. They are all important. They are working very, very hard to get better.”

Fishback is usually the first quarterback who trots out with the first-string offense in practice. However, each of the four see a lot of time with the rest of the offensive starters.

Fishback was previously the backup quarterback behind Doughty for the past three seasons and has spent more time with WKU’s offense then the other three candidates.

He also brings a different element to the game in that he possesses the talent both to pass the ball and to run effectively.

The coaching staff has featured Fishback in several designed plays in practice that have him running the ball from the quarterback position. However, this competition is still open, Brohm said.

“I have seen improvement, and that’s the important thing. We are making it as hard on them as we can so we can try to get them game ready,” Brohm said. “You would like to see someone single themselves out. I am not sure we have seen that to this point.”

While Fishback might have the upper hand in experience, Ferguson, White and Eckels have displayed their own strengths.

The coaching staff, however, is in no rush to make a decision. Most college quarterback competitions are normally decided closer to the season, and WKU’s is also likely to be decided later this year.

With only one week of spring practice left, Brohm insists that the quarterbacks have all upgraded their ability under center since the first spring practice.

“We want to see constant improvement,” Brohm said. “I think our guys are working hard as we are on week four here. We got to make sure we continue to have that hunger. We have to push through as it’s important to get something out of these last four practices.”

These quarterbacks and the rest of the Toppers will practice on Wednesday this week before their Red vs. White Spring Game on Saturday. The scrimmage will feature all four quarterbacks and gives them a chance to earn the distinction Brohm is still looking for.