Mike Clark just smiled and nodded his head. The Lycoming football head coach acknowledged he's in a tough spot with his quarterback situation. But it's a tough spot he's OK with.
For the first time this season Saturday, quarterback Zach Klinger will be in uniform for the Warriors' game. The returning two-year starter is listed as the back-up on Lycoming's pre-game depth chart after returning from a concussion that has had him sidelined for the first three weeks of the season.
Sophomore Tyler Jenny, who's started the first three games of the season, is still listed as the starting quarterback for the Warriors. But during Wednesday's media availability, Clark would lean toward neither as his starting quarterback for the rest of the season.
Lycoming sophomore quarterback Tyler Jenny (7) has the Warriors off to a 2-0 start in MAC play. Lycoming plays at Albright on Saturday.
All Clark would say was that the coaching staff has considered naming Jenny the starter for the remainder of the season.
"I think we have two really good quarterbacks," Clark said. "Both have demonstrated they can go in and win big football games for us. So it's a good problem to have."
It's a difficult decision because of what Klinger did in the last two seasons for the Warriors. He went 14-6 during the two seasons as a starter. He's in the top 10 in all of the Warriors major career passing statistics including yards (ninth), touchdowns (ninth), completion percentage (eighth) and yards per game (third).
What Jenny has done is lead the Warriors to a 2-1 record and a 2-0 start in Middle Atlantic Conference play. One of those wins was Lycoming's first win at Delaware Valley since 2002, and the first win against the Aggies since 2008.
"Tyler Jenny is building a lot of confidence in himself and now everyone has confidence around him," junior receiver Matt Atkinson said. "We're really behind him."
What is making the decision so difficult for Clark and the coaching staff is exactly what Jenny has done since taking over the reigns of the offense. His 65 percent completion percentage in last week's win over Lebanon Valley was the highest for a Warrior quarterback in a single game since 2007. His quarterback rating of 115.87 is the highest through the first three career starts for a Lycoming quarterback since Phil Mann posted a 162.74 rating through his first three starts in 2002.
Clark and Atkinson each said that Jenny has done a better job of asserting himself in the huddle in recent weeks. He's been able to become a leader on the field as the Warriors' offense has played better since an opening-week loss to Brockport State.
"I think that's the one thing that's hard because until you're actually in games, you can't display that," Clark said. "Preseason and freshman year, we knew he had ability and in the spring he did some good stuff. But until you're actually in a game, that doesn't come out and it's hard to measure in practice. I think he's grown up a lot the last three weeks."
"He's starting to gain some confidence in himself from a power standpoint knowing that he has the leadership in the huddle," Atkinson said. "The past couple weeks he's been showing it in the huddle. Nobody's talking and if people are talking, he's telling you to relax. he just wants to win. He's a gamer."
A win this week would mean Jenny has led the Warriors through the most difficult portion of Lycoming's schedule about as well as could be expected. A win this week at Albright would mean just Lycoming and Widener would be the lone undefeated teams remaining in MAC play.
Jenny and Klinger are very similar players. Both move well in the pocket and can gain yards with their legs. Both have shown the ability to get the offense into the right play at the line of scrimmage, and both have the arm to make plays through the air. And both have shown an ability to guide the Warriors to a win.
"I think (Jenny) and Zach are pretty good," Clark said. "We're fortunate that regardless of who is one or who is two, you have two guys that can beat good teams."