Sam Houston State knew it would be an interesting season on the football field after losing four-year starting quarterback Brian Bell.
The Bearkats haven’t had a smooth transition replacing Bell, as they enter Southland Conference with a 1-3 record.
SHSU saw two quarterbacks play in a blowout performance to Colorado State-Pueblo on Sept. 13 at Bowers Stadium. Quarterback Jared Johnson struggled against the ThunderWolves, and the Bearkats were forced to put in their sophomore backup quarterback Don King III during the second half.
Johnson completed 14-26 pass attempts with a total of 72 yards and failed to get the ball in the end zone. Conversely, King finished with five passes for 74 yards and a touchdown.
Even though King threw an interception, the Bearkats were able to move the ball more efficiently with him in the game.
“I’ve should’ve made a decision earlier,” head coach K.C. Keeler said at the press conference after the CSUP game.
The Bearkats gave up eight sacks against CSUP, but Keeler did not blame on his offensive line. Johnson was slow to get rid of the ball in the pocket.
Some Bearkat fans were pleased when King III took over the snaps but think starting him would be a stretch. Moreover, they would at least like to see him on the field more often.
“As bad as Johnson has been, it would be nice to see King III get some looks,” alumnus Tim Jeske said. “Split playing time and who does best, roll with them until we get someone solid. Quarterback play is a huge concern, one of many.”
Junior kinesiology major Jaylon Ross was happy to see Johnson replaced against CSUP and hopes to see him get more playing time.
“King III should be the starting quarterback because the offense has more of a rhythm when he was in the game,” Ross said. “Even against LSU, even though they were down by many, the offense was just clicking on all cylinders.”
Bearkat fans have seen good and bad flashes from their starting quarterback in Johnson, especially in a huge Alabama State victory when he threw for 386 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
However, Johnson only has that one win under his belt after four games.
Redshirt freshman John Roderique has also been tossed into the conversation for taking the Bearkats’ snaps. Before the season, he looked like a dangerous threat for the starting role.
During the CSUP game, fans tweeted about wanting Roderique seeing playing time.
All three quarterbacks have taken snaps with the first time. Still, Johnson is the probable starter for Saturday’s Southland Conference kickoff against Lamar in Beaumont.