Western Kentucky’s quarterback battle is narrowing down after nine days of fall camp, and the four potential candidates have a chance to make an impression in the first fall scrimmage Saturday.

Redshirt junior Steven Duncan and graduate transfer Ty Storey are the elder statesmen in the quarterback room with redshirt sophomore Davis Shanley and redshirt freshman Kevaris Thomas.

Head coach Tyson Helton has said all summer the staff will choose the starting quarterback about 10 days before the home opener against Central Arkansas on Aug. 29. That timeline gives quarterbacks just over one more week and two scheduled scrimmages to show who deserves the starting job.

“We’re still battling,” Storey said after Friday’s practice. “We’re pushing everybody and everybody is growing from it. I think it’s good for the whole team. The team sees us competing every day and I think we’re becoming a better team because of the competition.”

Helton said during a radio appearance in Nashville on Thursday the job is shaping up in a close battle. Helton told Sports Night on 650 AM WSM, “we’ve got probably two guys right now battling it out.”

Duncan is the most experienced returner for the Hilltoppers, earning five starts and appearing in nine games last year throwing for 1,071 yards. Shanley played in nine games and completed 68 percent of his passes for 942 yards. Thomas appeared in three games but retained redshirt status.

Storey was a winter addition as a graduate transfer from Arkansas. He played 530 snaps and threw for 1,584 yards over 10 games.

“They’re learning,” WKU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bryan Ellis said earlier in the week. “We’re night and day from where we were in the spring. We had a long way to go this summer and the first five or six practices have been good so far. … Things are going to narrow down here real soon where we have to decide who’s going to be the quarterback for Game 1. They really like each other and get along, but they understand at the end of the day it’s going to be one guy. It’s been good for those guys.”

Duncan said the quarterbacks have a pretty good grasp of Helton’s system by this point and now it comes down to who can manage the offense best and move the ball downfield. That will be the biggest assessment Saturday when WKU holds a closed scrimmage at Houchens-Smith Stadium.

“Take completions and don’t force things and try to be great,” Duncan said. “Just move my team down the field no matter what that means. It doesn’t matter how many (yards) I throw for as long as we get down there. If I have to do anything extra, carry or fake out, I just want to move the ball.”

Storey added the quarterbacks’ comfort level in the system should allow for smart reactions when thrown into pressure situations in Saturday’s scrimmage. The transfer QB said just as the offense continues building installations, they’re also seeing new blitzes from defense in practices.

“We’re comfortable, but you’re always going to be working stuff out,” Storey said. “Our defense is good at throwing different looks at us. … We want to be able to move the ball and take command of the offense. Not everything is controllable, but you have to go out there and do your job and I trust the other guys are going to do their jobs, too.”{&end}

– Follow WKU athletics beat writer Elliott Pratt on Twitter @EPrattBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.