All three quarterbacks on Morgan State’s roster have gotten considerable time heading the offense in the first four games of the season. But the jury is still out on who will start in Saturday’s Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener against Norfolk State at Hughes Stadium in Baltimore.
Redshirt freshman Moses Skillon leads all quarterbacks in passing yards (244) and is tied for the lead in passing touchdowns (two) despite playing in just three contests. He is also averaging 4.5 yards per carry (116 yards on 26 attempts).
Redshirt junior Robert Council leads in completion percentage (61.5) and passing efficiency (143.26), but has thrown just 13 passes. He has rushed 24 times for 67 yards and one score.
Junior Seth Higgins has also tossed two touchdowns, but he has been intercepted twice. He has carried the ball 19 times for 62 yards.
So which one will line up under center for the offense’s first series? Coach Donald Hill-Eley isn’t saying.
“It’s one of those deals where you want to play the guy that’s moving the offense,” he said Tuesday morning during a conference call organized by the MEAC. “Right now, you’re in conference play. So as you get into these FBS games, we had a chance to play two [Army and Western Kentucky] and also by playing Liberty, a pursuing team, you’re in a situation where you get to play against a bunch of different talent. Some guys were moving the offense better than others. Some [with the] ability when it came to running the ball ran it better than others. But now as you get back into conference play, you shape your team through these first couple games, and now you start hanging your hats on guys and being committed to them and trying to build an offense around one particular guy. And coming out of it and seeing all three of them play, I know we have great depth there and we have great leadership regardless of whichever one we put in.”
Skillon got his second consecutive start against Western Kentucky last Saturday, but after completing both of his throws for nine yards and rushing three times for 17 yards in three possessions, he was replaced by Higgins.
In the final three-plus quarters, Higgins completed 13-of-21 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted twice, but he also gained 56 yards on 13 carries.
But Hill-Eley declined to anoint Higgins as the starter against the Spartans, saying, “Seth did a great job for us. On Saturday, we played three different guys. You can’t hang your hat on what happened in the past. You’ve got to work through this week and see how everything goes in a week of practice, and the best guy will take the field.”
The uncertainty at the quarterback position could aid the Bears in being a difficult opponent to scout for Norfolk State. Coach Pete Adrian acknowledged that not being able to concentrate on one quarterback will be a challenge for his defense.
“[E]very quarterback that comes in, the cadence is different, they throw the ball different, they move different,” he said. “So it gives you different problems.”
The flipside is that the carousel at quarterback may disrupt any sense of cohesion on Morgan State’s offense. But Hill-Eley said the rotation at that position was necessitated by a lack of execution on offense through the first four games.
“That’s the thing we’ve been trying to stir up, is the chemistry,” he said. “When you’re scoring 14 points or 16 points a game, there ain’t a whole lot of chemistry going on. You’ve got to try to find somebody that can generate some chemistry, which can generate some points and some movement. It can work if you have momentum and things are happening. But if things are not happening and you’re rotating, then you’re just trying to find chemistry, and that’s what we’re doing. Just trying to move guys around and find which guys are making those things on offense move.”