Football Head Coach Chris Hatcher announced senior C.J. Bennett as the starting quarterback for the home season opener Wednesday during practice.
The news first came out on Twitter through Football Media Relations Assistant John Brush, despite the coaching staff’s decision being made much earlier.
“We decided the end of last week that we would name him the QB,” Hatcher said. “He’s been the most consistent performer headed back from the spring.
“We feel like he’s got a good command of the offense, he’s got a quick release, he’s a good runner, voted team captain so he’s a good leader as well. And K.D. (Humphries) has all those qualities, but at the end of the day we just feel that C.J. had earned the right to take the first snaps, and we’ll see what happens.”
Bennett, who alternated repetitions with Humphries throughout practice Wednesday, is a fifth-year senior who transferred to Murray State after playing three seasons at the University of South Alabama.
“It’s an honor, and I’m glad I got the respect of my teammates and my coaches, and I work hard for it, but in all honesty it kind of means nothing because come game time I’ve got to produce,” Bennett said. “It doesn’t matter what I did here in fall camp, I’m going to have to lead there on the field.
“Coach has preached consistency all camp, and I’ve just tried to do as he preached. You can’t get complacent. You’ve got to do the little things right and keep coming every day and like I said, don’t get complacent.”
Hatcher said his decision had nothing to do with the age difference between Bennett and red-shirt sophomore Humphries.
“Age is just a number, and if you’re ready you’re ready,” Hatcher said. “If K.D. was the only quarterback we had, we’d be happy with him. He had a great camp as well.
“But you’ve got to have one go out there and take the first snaps, and C.J. earned that throughout the course of the fall camp.”
Despite the loss of sixth round draft pick Walter Powell, Bennett is confident in the depth of his receivers. He believes Powell’s departure has led other players to step up and make plays in order to fill his large shoes.
Bennett will start for the Racers against Union College Aug. 28 during the Senior Day game.
“Last year we went away and we played Missouri, that’s always fun to play those big games too, but to get that one game at home first, get that home crowd behind you, get that momentum going, I think that’ll help us going into our big game this year,” Bennett said.
Story by Mallory Tucker, Sports Editor