PULLMAN — Anthony Gordon spent three years paying his dues and sharpening his skills at Washington State.
In an era when quarterbacks often aren’t willing to wait their turn, patience paid for the redshirt senior.
WSU coach Mike Leach confirmed Saturday afternoon what most already suspected: Gordon, the City College of San Francisco transfer who spent the last three years behind Luke Falk and Gardner Minshew, will get the starting nod when the Cougars host New Mexico State at 7 p.m. next Saturday.
Leach has refrained from naming his starting QB in the past and last year the coach was tight-lipped when asked about the competition between Minshew, Gordon and Trey Tinsley, not giving many clues as to which of the three would be taking the first snaps of the season against Wyoming.
But the coach offered an early hint last Sunday that Gordon was his frontrunner, telling reporters “If we played today, we’d play (him),” while still leaving a sliver of a possibility he could change his mind over the course of week. “But we’ve got some time, too.”
Leach provided full clarity Saturday, however, when asked if he planned to start Gordon a week from now against the Aggies.
“Yes,” the coach responded.
Gordon outlasted Tinsley, a fellow JC transfer who joined the Cougars the same year he did, but more impressively, he also beat out former Eastern Washington signal-caller Gage Gubrud, a dual-threat QB who was one of the most dynamic players at the FCS level before an injury derailed his final season with the Eagles.
Gubrud received a waiver from the NCAA to gain a sixth year of eligibility, but a second injury sustained during the team’s “Midnight Maneuevers” winter conditioning regimen kept him out of spring workouts.
Gordon, meanwhile, excelled in the spring and didn’t drop off when the Cougars regrouped for fall camp, improving his command of the offense, cutting out interceptions and producing explosive plays during WSU’s scrimmage-like “team periods.”
“Some of it started in the spring, I think,” Leach said. “He had a really good spring and then he really didn’t break stride from spring til camp. So he was very steady in camp. Steady, but also explosive.”