JSU notebook: Clark not ready to reveal the starting quarterback
by Al Muskewitz
amuskewitz@annistonstar.com
Aug 14, 2013 | 2523 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jacksonville State coach Bill Clark, left, might not reveal his starting quarterback until the first offensive series of the first game. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Jacksonville State coach Bill Clark, left, might not reveal his starting quarterback until the first offensive series of the first game. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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JACKSONVILLE -- The quarterback getting the call will know he's the man, but everybody else outside the program might have to wait until the first series to discover who the starter in Bill Clark's first game as a college head coach is going to be.

Clark said after the morning session of Wednesday's final two-a-day practice he wasn't likely to name a starter publicly before the Gamecocks go to Alabama State.

He said they'll determine the top two out of Saturday's final scrimmage, but the final one will remain a mystery.

"My guy will know, but nobody (else) will until we start the game," Clark said. "That's more about us using our advantage."

Clark has said two quarterbacks will play. Minnesota transfer Max Shortell -- the passer -- and redshirt freshman Eli Jenkins -- the runner -- appear to have moved ahead of the other two quarterbacks in camp, Kyle West and Jayce Barber.

"I love the competition all the way up and our guys are all close," Clark said. "They want to be the guy."

BOUNCING BACK: Clark said the players delivered the spirited response he hoped for after a less-than-stellar practice Tuesday afternoon. He cited the work of 310-pound senior guard Taylor Johnstone, the way the offense ran in the red zone and the receivers catching the ball the best they had all camp as examples.

"We have a word every day and enthusiasm was our word today," Clark said. "I think we were looking for guys to lead and step up, to show it's not just talk, and we got that. We saw a lot of people step back up."

Clark said the response "goes a long way" to showing him how the players will respond when they face adversity during the season.

PERSONNEL UPDATE: At this point in camp, senior kicker Griffin Thomas remains "in front of all" the candidates for handling all of the Gamecocks' place-kicking responsibilities. Clark didn't rule out, however, the possibility of using the others in a specialty situation.

"We truly want that to be like every other position," Clark said. "We're going to evaluate it throughout the year. We have three kickers who are all very capable. We feel good about that whole situation."

Sophomore running back Miles Jones was out of the boot protecting his injured left leg Wednesday, but versatile senior tight end Jerry Slota remains in his.
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