San Jose State head coach Ron Caragher revealed Kenny Potter as the team's starting quarterback for the 2015 season on Monday, but the decision may be delayed due to an ankle injury.
Going into the season, San Jose State returned Joe Gray as the most experienced quarterback from a 2014 campaign that never quite came together. Gray played the position for the majority of seven games, winning two of them. This offseason, San Jose State earned the commitment of Seth Collins who eventually flipped to Oregon State. They then added Kenny Potter out of Long Beach CC who was able to transfer mid-year.
Gray and Potter were named the finalists for the position in August and alternated each quarter through the first two games. In the Spartans’ loss to Air Force, the offense had trouble getting in rhythm and Caragher appeared to have went with Potter as his starter for week three.
Potter completed 8 of 9 passes to open the game at Oregon State, but a high ankle sprain knocked him out of the game. Joe Gray came in as the replacement, though Caragher had seen enough after a pick-six and called Malik Watson to play the fourth quarter.
On Monday, Caragher confirmed Potter as his starter, but his status for this weekend remains uncertain. Potter was in a protective boot on Tuesday, although at Monday’s press conference, Ron Caragher said that he was “confident” that Potter would be available for Saturday.
“I thought Kenny played an outstanding first half up to his injury,” Caragher said in his weekly press conference on Monday. “I thought the led the team on some very nice drives. He made some good decisions with the football. He managed our offense very well. All the things you look for in a leader of your offensive program. I thought he had edged ahead of the competition for the quarterback spot. So I felt comfortable with that, proceeding forward with him.”
In three games, playing a total of five quarters, Potter has completed 28 of 38 passes for 291 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. He also gained 74 yards on the ground on 16 carries.
With similar playing time, Gray completed 31 of 48 passes for 361 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Inconsistency has been his biggest downfall as a Spartan. He has shown the ability to sustain drives in San Jose State’s multiple offense, but the drives often falter in the redzone. Gray also has a tendency to make crucial mistakes when put under pressure.
Caragher pulling the plug on Gray after a pick-six at Oregon State was telling. His replacement, Malik Watson, had been ruled out for weeks and wasn’t taking reps with the first or second team offense.
If Potter can’t go on Saturday, look for Watson to start against Fresno State. Asking for the former third-stringer to lead a victory over a conference opponent may be a tall task to ask of him.
Fresno State, however, could be down to its third string quarterback as well after the starter Chason Virgil was lost for the season with a broken clavicle and Zack Greenlee faces a potential suspension for an arrest over the weekend.
The Bulldogs’ third-stringer is a transfer from West Virginia who started two games for the Mountaineers while Watson went the junior college route after high school.
After a spring, fall camp and two weeks of indecision, San Jose State has their guy in Kenny Potter - but the Spartans may have to wait on his health before getting stability at the quarterback position.