Baker outduels Johnson, named starting quarterback for season opener against UNLV


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Then-freshman quarterback Carson Baker throws a quick pass during the Aztecs’ 13-3 victory on Nov. 30, 2019 at SDCCU Stadium. Baker is set to make his second-career start against UNLV on Oct. 24.

by Luis Lopez, Assistant Sports Editor

Last season’s calf injury to then-San Diego State senior starting quarterback Ryan Agnew didn’t necessarily have massive implications en route to SDSU’s 10-3 record. 

It did, however, give Aztecs fans their first look at today’s newest starter under center, Carson Baker, against BYU on Nov. 30, 2019. 

Baker was announced as SDSU’s starting quarterback for week one against UNLV over Georgia Tech transfer Lucas Johnson, among others. A San Diego native and nearby Helix High School graduate, Baker said his experience with the program’s system and the work he’s put into practice has gotten him to this point. 

“Just the amount of team reps we’ve been having in practice, I feel really confident,” Baker said.  “I feel like I’ve had a lot of time in this system to get really comfortable with it. So for me, I mean, I have the utmost confidence in myself and the guys around me.”

Head coach Brady Hoke highlighted Baker’s performance in fall camp and his attention to detail of the Aztecs’ offense as reasons why he selected him to start week one.

“I think he really had a good camp. I think he picked up the nuances to the offense,” Hoke said. “Highly-competitive, did a lot of good things, obviously. The other guys all have things that they did real well also, but we just felt that he was the guy to lead us and to start us off.”

While Baker has been able to compete for his starting spot on an actual football field since July 7, the coronavirus pandemic has presented him and other college quarterbacks competing for starting spots one of the most unique challenges to mastering an offensive system. 

With last spring’s team workouts canceled due to the pandemic, Baker was forced to continue his learning of the offense over Zoom meetings. Despite the unique challenge, Baker feels he and the offense are ready to take the field. 

“I think we got so much time to meet on Zoom to get walkthroughs in. We’ve been together just trying to perfect this offense since the spring,” Baker said. “Since we got shut down in the spring, we’ve been working towards getting really comfortable with the system and we’re really excited for it.”

Baker said he wants to focus on distributing the ball to his skill position playmakers.

“We’re just going to try to get the ball to guys in space. Get the ball to our playmakers, however it is: through the run, through the pass, we can do it all.” Baker said. “We’ve got a lot of good guys. We got a great (offensive) line, so we can do it any way.”

Hoke said at the end of the day, he has confidence in Baker to be the guy that will be able to lead his team best. 

“I think his mannerisms and his leadership (are) always (something) you look for from that position,” Hoke said. “I think he has shown that and I think the other thing that you look at is just his command, where he’s at right now and it’s been really, really good.”

Sports editor Kyle Betz contributed to the reporting of this story.