Cade Gibson’s 2014 season was a raw deal.
Gibson, a junior at the time, was a quarterback as a sophomore but made the decision to move to wide receiver in search of immediate playing time. Preseason practice went well and a few weeks into the season, Gibson was settling into his new position.
All of that just to go back behind the center.
“What you have to realize is that he was at receiver last year when all of that happened,” Ruston coach Brad Laird said. “When this situation happened last year when he was thrown into the fire, he was not practicing at the position.”
Injuries threw Gibson into the role of Ruston’s starting quarterback last season. This year, he won the position in a much more natural way and the results are showing. Three games in, Gibson has responded to difficult competition by completing 44 of his 76 passes for 530 yards and a touchdown.
“In the last couple of series we had to throw it a little bit more. I thought he did a good job of getting the ball out early and making good decisions of where he wanted to go with the football,” Laird said of Gibson’s 226 yards in the loss to Airline. “Even with those numbers, there were a couple of dropped passes that could have made them even better.”
Gibson added, “I’m more comfortable week to week.”
Laird carries a very specific set of expectations for his quarterbacks based on timing, not numbers, and a set of expectations Gibson feels comfortable meeting.
“I knew all of that coming in. I knew coach was going to trust me with the ball,” Gibson said. “I love doing the quick reads and I know the receivers love it, too. I know where they’re going to be at a certain time and they know when the ball is coming.
“It’s challenging at times because sometimes I want to sit in the pocket and let them do work on the defense, but at the same time, it’s good to get the ball out quick because it doesn’t give the defense time to adjust.”
Laird added, “He’s made progress, and I think that has to do with getting those quality reps on Friday nights.”
As the Bearcats continue to improve in the run game, both Laird and Gibson don’t forsee a change in how they approach Gibson’s position: no change in the method, just working for improvement in the execution.
“I think the quarterback of any football team has to continue to develop,” Laird said. “As he continues to improve, the team continues to improve. I have no doubts in my mind that he will.”
Gibson added, “This year, I’ve felt more in control than ever. It’s starting to really click for me. I’m trying to get better every week doing the things the coaches are telling me to do on film.”
Follow Brett on Twitter, @BHudsonTNS.