ACU football has undergone some major changes over the past few months. The most significant change would be senior John David Baker taking over as starting quarterback.
“It’s a lot of responsibility,” Baker said. “The driving force behind any offense is the quarterback. But I feel that I’m ready for it and I’m excited as well. I’m confident that I can lead these guys. I know this offense and this team and I’m ready to prove what I can do.”
Baker has spent the past three seasons as backup to former Wildcat Mitchell Gale. With Gale now playing for the Toronto Argos, the Wildcats coaching staff had a decision to make for who would take over the helm and lead the team onto the field.
“With his ability to run the ball, our rush game is going to look different and it’s going to help us,” head coach Ken Collums said. “John David can make throws, he’s got pop in his arm and I look forward to seeing him progress over the season. He has to be smart, but I’m confident in having him lead this team.”
In his time as a backup, Baker has put up solid numbers in limited playing time. He has proven he can handle himself in the pocket and can run the ball when called upon. He has also had ample time in watching Gale and learning from him.
“Having him (Gale) here and watching how he did things, how he led this team and how he prepared himself has really been a help to me,” Baker said. “A lot of guys don’t get that opportunity, they’re just kind of thrown into it and hope they do well. At least with my case, I’ve had time to learn and watch that has led me to this point, so it’s definitely been something that I’m grateful for.”
New offensive coordinator Nathan Young will be calling plays for Baker from the sideline. The two of them will pair up and look to produce an efficient, well executed offensive attack.
“He’s one of the smartest guys I have ever been around. He has a great mind for football and how it’s played and how it works,” Baker said. “Coach Collums didn’t just hand the keys over to anyone. Coach Young knows this offense, knows this team and I don’t see any reason why it won’t continue to elevate.”
With all the changes surrounding ACU football, the ending goal for Baker and the rest of the team has stayed the same.
“My expectations have always been very high, for myself and this team,” Baker said. “We have a lot of guys coming back, a strong senior class with a lot of leadership on this team. We expect to win every ball game, and we feel that we have the talent to do so.”