By Allen Moff | Staff Writer
David Fisher nearly won Kent State's starting quarterback job during the past two preseason camps.
It looks like he'll finally get his chance to lead the Golden Flashes' offense this Saturday.
Redshirt freshman Colin Reardon is "doubtful" due to a sprained left ankle sustained in the closing minutes of Saturday's 27-24 loss at Ball State, so Fisher will likely start at quarterback when Kent State (2-5) visits South Alabama (2-3) on Saturday in Mobile.
Fisher has served at the Flashes' backup quarterback the past two seasons, and nearly beat out both players who ultimately were named starters ahead of him.
He competed for the job last year in preseason camp against senior Spencer Keith and freshman Colin Reardon, but Keith was named the starter just before the season opener. Keith got off to a mediocre start and Fisher saw some action early in the season.
Fisher was considered once again as the starter for game four of the 2012 campaign against Ball State. But Keith wound up starting and leading KSU to a last-second victory over the Cardinals, and went on to play excellent football during the remainder of the Flashes' record-setting 11-win season.
Fisher and Reardon once again battled for the job in this year's preseason camp, and Reardon was named the starter a little over a week before the season opener. Reardon has started every game this season and played well, completing 120-of-202 passes for 1,199 yards and 10 touchdowns with four interceptions, while also rushing 59 times for 222 yards and a score.
Meanwhile, Fisher had thrown just 10 passes this season before he was thrust into action with the game on the line in the closing minutes Saturday at Ball State after Reardon suffered a non-contact ankle injury while carrying out a play-fake.
"We feel comfortable with David," said KSU head coach Paul Haynes. "It was a battle for a long time (between Fisher and Reardon in camp), so those guys both got a lot of reps. There's a couple of things that we felt Colin did better to make him the starter, but we feel really good about David being out there on the field for us."
Fisher did not fare well against the Cardinals, completing just 1-of-6 passes for 18 yards. With his team down by three and facing a fourth-and-15 from near midfield in the closing seconds, Fisher tried to scramble to his right and make a play, but was leveled on the Ball State sideline before he could get a pass away.
"That situation is hard for any quarterback to be thrown into -- the last drive, you're trying to go win it and they're pinning their ears back and just rushing like crazy," said Haynes. "In a normal situation, where you have a whole week to prepare and take the reps and slow it down, I think he'll be better."
Kent State junior wide receiver Chris Humphrey, who set personal bests with nine catches for 106 yards against Ball State, believes Fisher's teammates could have done more to help him.
"What we could have done better is slow it down a little bit, keep our composure," said Humphrey. "I felt like we may have rushed some things. But we had faith in Fisher."
Fisher (6-foot-1, 220 pounds), a California native who transferred to Kent State from Palomar Community College before the start of 2012, has completed 21-of-39 passes for 318 yards and one touchdown with one interception in 13 games for the Flashes over the past two seasons. He is a little bigger than Reardon (6-1, 202), but similar athletically, so Haynes said not much will need to be changed offensively with Fisher at quarterback.
"Fish knows this offense really well. For us to change it, I think it would screw things up," said Haynes.
Haynes did not rule Reardon out of Saturday's game, saying his status will be evaluated as the week progresses.
Facebook: Allen Moff, Record-Courier