Southeast transfer joins a competitive QB race

Saturday, April 5, 2003

You wouldn't expect somebody who played his first major college football game against Nebraska's vaunted defense in front of nearly 80,000 rabid Cornhusker fans to shy away from a crowded quarterback situation.

So forgive Andrew Goodenough if he doesn't seem bothered by the presence of two record-setting signal callers at Southeast Missouri State University.

"Anywhere you go, you'll compete with somebody," said Goodenough, an Arizona State transfer, prior to a spring practice earlier this week. "The competition is going to make us all better."

No matter how things turn out, Goodenough is glad to be in Cape Girardeau and playing for the Indians, who have their second spring scrimmage at 10 a.m. today at Houck Stadium. The public is invited.

"It's been an easy transition," Goodenough said. "I like the team a lot, and everybody has accepted me."

Including the two players Goodenough is competing against -- Jack Tomco and Jeromy McDowell.

Tomco turned in the best statistical season by a quarterback in Southeast history last fall, passing for more than 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns as the Indians went 8-4 for their best record since 1969.

McDowell set Southeast freshman passing records in 2001, throwing for nearly 2,100 yards. He missed most of last season with injuries but is healthy now.

"Those guys are both great quarterbacks, and we get along real good," Goodenough said.

Decision to transfer

After being a two-time junior-college All-American at Palomar Community College in California, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Goodenough signed with Arizona State.

Goodenough was one of three quarterbacks to see action during the Sun Devils' season-opening 48-10 loss at Nebraska last fall. He completed four of eight passes for 52 yards and was intercepted once.

Andrew Walter wound up being Arizona State's starter the rest of the way and had a sensational season in leading the Sun Devils to a bowl game. Goodenough suffered a back injury a couple of weeks after the Nebraska game and received a medical redshirt, but he knew his days in Arizona were numbered.

"Andrew Walter had a great year, and the coaches told me if I stayed there, being the No. 2 quarterback would basically be my role," Goodenough said. "I started looking around for some options."

It just so happened that Goodenough's former junior-college teammate and roommate is Southeast tight end Graham Goodfield, who played his first season with the Indians last year.

"I talked to him a little bit- and he said coming here might be an option for me," Goodenough said.

Goodenough made initial contacts with Southeast's coaching staff in December. He said head coach Tim Billings was up front about the quarterback situation that already contained two standouts.

"He said had had two good ones right now. He was honest with me," Goodenough said. "Now that I've played with them, he was right. They are good quarterbacks."

Still, Goodenough liked the direction Southeast's program was headed, and he liked the idea of being able to room with Goodfield. So he transferred to Southeast and enrolled for the second semester in January. He'll have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning this year.

"I wanted to go some place on the rise, a place that was winning. And I wanted to go to a place that had a great coaching staff," Goodenough said. "And I knew that Graham had a room open, so I just moved right in with my old roommate. It made things pretty easy for me."

Coaches glad he's here

Billings and Southeast offensive coordinator Russ Martin, who works closely with the quarterbacks, are more than happy to have Goodenough in their program despite the presence of Tomco and McDowell.

First, they know a team can never have too many good quarterbacks. That was proven last season when McDowell went down after the opening game and Tomco stepped in to lead the way.

Second, Goodenough has the kind of ability that would make any coaching staff drool.

"First of all, he's an outstanding young man, a quality person," Martin said. "Athletically, he's gifted. He's a very good athlete, he has very good feet, and he has an extremely quick release.

"He has picked things up very well and had a good spring. And he'll get even better as he gets more comfortable in our system.'

Billings and Martin insist there is open competition for the Indians' No. 1 quarterback spot. And they don't rule out the possibility of using more than one quarterback on a regular basis.

"It's whoever plays the best in practice this spring and in the fall," Billings said. "All three are great quarterbacks, and I think we're going to have some really good competition."

Added Billings, laughing, "It's a nice problem to have. It's a lot better than having just one good quarterback or three bad quarterbacks."

For his part, Goodenough -- whose name is pronounced just like it sounds, "good enough," which may or may not be an omen -- isn't worrying about who will emerge as the starter. He said he simply wants to perform the best he can and help the team.

"There's a lot of time between now and the first game. There's not one person who's a football player who doesn't want to start, and I'm no different than anybody else," Goodenough said. "Obviously I want to be on the field, but I won't let that get into the way of my relationship with the other quarterbacks. Pushing each other is only going to make all of us better.

"I'm just going to play the best I can play and let the pieces fall where they may."

mmishow@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 132

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