Marshall Football By Position: Quarterback

James RoachContributor IAugust 27, 2009

BLACKSBURG, VA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Quarterback Byron Leftwich #7 of the Marshall Thundering Herd stands on the field during the NCAA football game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium on September 12, 2002 in Blacksburg, Virgina.  The Hokies defeated the Thundering herd 47-21.  (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)

As football season ramps up heading into the Fall 2009 semester, everyone likes to spend this time analyzing where teams are going to be in December (or for those lucky enough, January). However, I have always believed that you cannot figure out where you are going until you know where you came from.

So the easiest place to start is this day, one year ago. Aug. 27, 2009, just under a few days from the first game of the season against the Football Championship Subdivision, Illinois State, there was a young Freshman wearing the number 10 who was the favorite coming out of fall camp.

There were rumors of a return to glory and comparisons to a certain professional player taking snaps in Miami who once walked the campus of Marshall University abounded. Meanwhile in the shadows of Joan C. Edwards Stadium, first-year coordinators John Shannon and Rick Minter were still working the kinks out of their offensive and defensive schemes.

After another painfully long season for Herd fans, the number 10 under center proved that he was in fact not Chad Pennington, but Mark Cann. Showing some potential with just under 1,800 yards on the year, but only completing 50 percent of his passes over 11 games.

Backup Quarterback Brian Anderson made appearances in six games and started the season finale against Tulsa at The Joan. The Sophomore racked up 300 yards completing 56 percent, with most of his production coming in the game against Tulsa.

Stepping in for the injured Cann, Anderson looked his most impressive to-date with a 14-for-19 performance for 177 yards and three touchdowns, while not turning the ball over once.

Anderson managed to almost upset one of the top teams in Conference-USA and kept the ball away from the defensive secondary, a feat which has proved next to impossible for the Herd as of late.

Flash forward 365 days and the two-a-days are finished yet again, and the fall semester is getting it's legs underneath it. After months of speculation as to who would be the starter this time around, the Junior from Louisville, Kentucky has emerged the hands-down favorite after an impressive fall.

Anderson has been in the passenger seat for much of the previous two seasons, backing up Bernard Morris in 2007, and providing the relief role for Cann last year. In that fashion, Anderson has seen his share of hardships, often coming in when the game is out of reach for the Herd or when the starter is injured.

Taking the experience and working with it is what led the quarterback to the top of the depth chart. Formerly, Anderson had become almost notorious for dropping snaps. But this Fall, he showed his maturity and progress under center and the once-expected fumbles became a rare occurrence at camp.

Anderson brings the most years at the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision and, if you believe the old adage, the most wisdom to the corps of quarterbacks. The benefit of time and going into a second year under Coach Shannon is why I believe Anderson is ready for center stage this season and will handle the pressure.

Of course, as long as we're on adages, here is one that is glaringly obvious; Only time will tell.


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