OXFORD • Playing quarterback didn’t come naturally to Randy Anderson, but you wouldn’t know it now.
Two years ago he was a glorified running back. Entering his senior season for Lafayette, Anderson is much more than that.
Last fall he completed 56.9% of his passes for 1,319 yards and nine touchdowns, and he threw zero interceptions in 137 pass attempts. In 2017 he completed just 37.7% of his throws.
Anderson credits quarterbacks coach Stewart Summers with making him a better passer.
“He had me doing drills that I’d never done before,” Anderson said. “They helped me with my motion, footwork, and my release and timing.”
The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder remains a threat in the run game. He rushed for a team-leading 1,508 yards and 18 touchdowns last season.
Lafayette lost its top two running backs, Jamie Shaw and Lance Stewart, both of whom rushed for over 1,200 yards. Also gone are top receivers Brandon Turnage and Quinshun Twilley.
That will put a lot of pressure on Anderson, but coach Michael Fair believes his QB can handle it.
“He had a pretty good bit on his shoulders last year,” Fair said. “He ran quarterback for us these last two years and even played some as a freshman for us, so nothing surprises him. He’s played against some really good teams, and his calmness in games is something our kids lean on.”
The Commodores will also lean on an offensive line that returns all five starters from last season. Four of them are seniors: Dylan Christman, Levi Lott, Aaron Williams and Austin Wilson.
“Because Randy’s in the backfield and the offensive line is seasoned, we feel good about it,” Fair said of the run game.
Anderson, whose college offers include Memphis and Southern Miss, is playing out of position at quarterback. Running back, slot receiver or defensive back might be a better fit.
But quarterback is where he’s needed most, and he’s enjoying it. Anderson admits he wasn’t initially enamored with being a passing quarterback, “But I’ve developed a lot now and am getting way better. I didn’t expect it.”
Lafayette went 9-4 last season and lost to eventual Class 5A state champ West Point in the second round of the playoffs. Despite heavy personnel losses, the Commodores are expecting big things.
With Anderson at the helm, big things are possible.
“We feel like he’s one of the best athletes in the state,” Fair said. “The amount of stress he could possibly put on a defense is good. We like him with the ball in his hands.”
Lafayette opens the season Aug. 23 at Cleveland Central.