The Arizona State transfer will enter the season as the undisputed leader of the Indians' offense.
By Marty Mishow ~ Southeast Missourian
Last year, as a transfer from Arizona State, Andrew Goodenough was simply looking to make his mark and earn some quality playing time. It took him most of the season, but he ultimately did.
This year, Goodenough is firmly established as Southeast Missouri State University's starting quarterback -- not that his approach is going to change any time soon.
"Whether I'm the starter or not, I get ready the same as always and just try to take it one game at a time," said the soft-spoken Goodenough during Southeast's media day Tuesday. "We had great quarterbacks last year and we have a great quarterback this year. Mike Haley is really good."
As much as Southeast's coaching staff likes the potential of Haley, a strong-armed junior college transfer, there apparently will be no game of musical quarterbacks this year -- unlike last season, when Jack Tomco, Jeromy McDowell and finally Goodenough all tried their hand at the controls.
"I think Mike Haley will be very good for us next year, and if something were to happen to Andrew, I'm confident that Mike would be able to step in and we wouldn't miss a beat," Southeast first-year offensive coordinator Rob Likens said. "But Andrew is our guy this year. We have high hopes for him."
Goodenough, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior, was a two-time junior college All-American at Palomar (Calif.) who signed with Arizona State in 2002 and played in the Sun Devils' opener against Nebraska. But he suffered a season-ending injury in that contest and was a medical redshirt, then decided to transfer to Southeast because juco teammate Graham Goodfield was already in the program.
Goodenough, who possesses a strong arm and is mobile, went through spring practice last year and showed Southeast coaches enough that he was considered a major challenger to Tomco's starting position even though Tomco was coming off a record-setting season.
After seeing some action early in the campaign as Southeast shuffled three quarterbacks, Goodenough finally broke into the starting lineup late and wound up completing 71 of 116 passes (61.2 percent) for 906 yards, with three touchdowns and four interceptions. He saved his best for last, throwing for 407 yards during the season finale against Jacksonville State.
"Last year helped me get comfortable, just getting in and seeing some action," Goodenough said.
And he now feels more at ease than ever in a Southeast uniform.
"I think I've improved a lot, just feeling more comfortable in the offense, with the system, and with the team," he said. "The first year, you're just trying to learn all the guys."
Senior tight end Ray Goodson, an All-American who caught a team-high 66 passes last year, said he expects Goodenough to pick up this season where he left off in 2003.
"Andrew really came on last year, and I think he'll be a lot more comfortable this year," Goodson said.
So does Likens, who had only seen Goodenough play on film prior to this year's spring practices.
"One of the things I was excited about when I took the job was seeing film of Andrew, having that returning experience at quarterback," Likens said. "He's got a lot of tools, and I think he'll have a very good year."
Goodenough expects nothing less, and he's confident the Indians can bring home the program's first Ohio Valley Conference championship. Goodenough is also undaunted by a brutal non-conference schedule that has Southeast playing on the road against Division I-AA powerhouse Southern Illinois, along with Division I-A programs Bowling Green and Central Michigan, in the first three weeks.
"It's a tough schedule, but I'd much rather play those teams than Division II teams. It'll test us early, but that's a good thing," Goodenough said. "We're confident we can win the OVC. That's our goal."