Suspense continues: No starting QB for Lamar named yet as game week arrives

BEAUMONT — And the the starting quarterback for Lamar is …

Joe Minden … or Carson Earp. Still.

Lamar coach Ray Woodard said during his first weekly press conference of the season Monday it would be much closer to game time Saturday when he’ll decide which one will take the field first against Bacone College. But he added that the other would see action as well against the NAIA team from Muskogee, Oklahoma.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to wait to see us take the field,” Woodard said. “We’ll tell the young men what we’re going to do, but as far as alerting everybody else, we probably won’t until Bacone.”

Woodard also is not ruling out redshirt sophomore Blake McKenzie as a starter. All three are transfers, but Minden and Earp have more playing experience and have been with the Cardinals since the spring semester.

The quarterbacks, themselves, might still feel as if they’re on edge as kickoff nears.

“It’s going to bother them,” Woodard said. “I’m not going to sugarcoat that. It’s like every other position, every other player. They want to know something definite, but at the same time, I would want to be judged on what I can do in a game. So, we’re going to give both of them that opportunity.

“And we want to get McKenzie in there.”

Woodard, beginning his sixth season in Beaumont, cannot recall going into a season at Lamar without a returning quarterback. Caleb Berry, who holds many school passing records, was a senior last year.

So, all Woodard has to go on is the new QBs’ performance during preseason camp and game week. He has yet to see which one will clearly separate from the other two to be “the man.”

“They’re all new faces, but we don’t just feel comfortable with one guy until we see them in games,” Woodard said. “I really feel we do need to see them play.”

Woodard added both Minden and Earp could take snaps the following Saturday at Baylor. But if one gets off to a hot start, will Woodard stick with him for consecutive series?

“We still might … early,” he said.

Lamar also released an updated two-deep chart, and although no Mid- or South County players are listed on the first string, Woodard warned to not get hung up over Nederland juniors Koby Couron or Corbin Carr being on the second-team defensive line. Transfers Manasseh Miles and Larry Carroll are listed as starting ends with two-time letterman Omar Tebo at tackle.

“We’ve got about eight guys we feel like are all worthy to start,” Woodard said. “You’ll see a lot of rollover in between the series of different guys playing.”

Senior Logan Moss of Orangefield is expected to start at weak-side linebacker.

But a freshman movement is taking place with eight listed on the second team, including six on offense. Woodard expects left tackle Ethan Cothen and right tackle Joseph Gonzales to see plenty of playing time, as well as 5-foot-6, 172-pounder Keegan Mitchell, who has electrified during camp.

That’s not an indication of any lack of confidence Woodard has in his returning Cardinals.

“I’m very happy with our older guys,” he said. “I’m not down on our older classes. These guys have come out and made a case individually to get on the field. I think our older guys, especially our seniors, have done a good job of leading. We got through camp with very few problems. They’ve done a good job of pushing this team, they show up every day on time, and they work.”

 

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