August 24, 2017 Jeff Bidwell
One of the biggest questions heading into the 2017 season for the Murray State football team was who would replace all-time leading passer KD Humphries at quarterback. On Wednesday, head coach Mitch Stewart answered that question by naming junior transfer Shuler Bentley as the starting quarterback for the team’s opener against Kentucky Wesleyan on August 31.
“He just took care of the football,” Stewart said when asked what helped earn Bentley the job. “He’s very good at moving the offense. There is a big time comfort level with him on the field as far as when you call a play and you are wanting him to look at a certain place. With Shuler, he gives you a comfort level in knowing there are very few times that you call something thinking he’s going to do something to the left and he does something to the right. However, when he does do something other than what you thought he was going to do, it usually works just because he’s a smart football player.”
Bentley joined the Racers in January and went through spring practice. A two-time South Carolina Gatorade High School Player of the Year, the redshirt junior comes to Murray State after spending two seasons at Old Dominion.
Backing up Bentley will be redshirt sophomore Brendan Bognar. Bognar joined the Racers in 2016, but sat out last season to NCAA regulations after transferring from Lindenwood (MO).
“Every time his number was called,” explains Stewart, “he was productive with the ball.” “He didn’t get a ton of reps until the end of camp, but the reps he got were very good. So when we evaluated the quarterbacks towards the middle of camp, we upped his reps to see if his production level would fall and it didn’t. In the last several practices and scrimmages, he’s been very productive”
In addition to naming his quarterbacks, Stewart also released his first depth chart of the 2017 season. However, he knows that while the initial depth chart is a starting point, it is far from the finished product.
“With all those positions on that depth chart, everything is fluid. Other than recruiting, that is one of the most fluid things there is in college football, is the depth chart. You can’t afford to go out there and have a bad practice. It doesn’t matter who you are, everybody has the chance to get Wally Pipped.”
Stewart continued to explain that there are no off days and that the process for determining roles is constant. “Every day is an evaluation for everybody, even our futures squad, everyone out there is getting evaluated. I’m getting evaluated, our coaches are getting evaluated. One of the best things you can do for your program is to try and create an atmosphere or culture where nobody feels like there job is safe and there is always a sense of urgency. Because with that sense of urgency comes a great sense of competitiveness and that is ultimately what we have to get around here. We need every position feeling like every day there is always a competition at that position. ”
The Murray State football team will officially begin its 2017 campaign, Thursday, August 31 at 6 p.m., against Kentucky Wesleyan under the lights at Roy Stewart Stadium.
From: Murray State Media Relations/GoRacers.com