Craig Yeast built his reputation throughout his football career as an offensive-minded player and coach.
Yeast was a record-setting receiver at the University of Kentucky.
As an assistant coach, Yeast had offenses put up big numbers. Over the last three years at Franklin College in Indiana, Yeast was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. The Grizzlies produced the most prolific offense in NCAA Division III over the past three seasons. Yeast balanced the offense in 2018 as the Grizzlies averaged 225 rushing and 333 passing yards per game.
Now, as head coach in his first year at Kentucky Wesleyan College, Yeast will want to try and do the same thing, and he will spend the preseason deciding on who will be starting quarterback.
Mike McGee is back as a two-year starter, but Yeast declared the quarterback competition open heading into his first season as coach of the Panthers.
McGee is a 6-5, 210-pound senior from South Oldham.
McGee threw for 1,378 yards and nine touchdowns last season along with eight interceptions. McGee made good on 58.8 percent of his passes.
Dessi Austin is a junior from Glasgow who has also taken some snaps at quarterback.
Brennon Harper is a freshman from Evansville Central. Harper is 6-4, 205 pounds. He threw for 2,352 yards and 26 touchdowns in leading Central to the Class 4-A Indiana state championship game, which Central lost in four overtimes.
Wiley Cain is another freshman from Pulaski County.
Yeast wants everybody to be competing for the quarterback job, although if the season started this week, he would go with the more veteran player. Yet, Yeast said further there's a lot of time between now and KWC's opener with Concordia on Sept. 7, so there's time for somebody to step up and win the job.
"Everybody is going to have an opportunity to win the job, everybody is going to have a fair shake," Yeast said Monday as KWC was going through its first practice of the preseason at Steele Stadium. "I would say if we had to start a game next week it would probably be one of our upperclassmen because we don't have enough time with our freshmen. But by the time we get to the opener, it could be anybody's job. It's an open competition, it's open, somebody has got to win it, somebody has got to lose it, if you don't win it you've got to be prepared."
McGee knows he has to earn the starting job just like every other player for the Panthers.
"Everything is kind of an open competition, with a new coaching staff it's a fresh slate, you've got to earn your spot," McGee said. "We're all pushing each other to be the best we can be. It's no one's job at this point. I want it, so does this guy and that guy, we're all out pushing each other, making each other better."
The offensive scheme will be a spread, which Yeast wants to be balanced.
McGee has talked some with Yeast about what to expect; they saw each other some on campus this summer.
"I saw him here and there, got to talk to him, text message him, we were in individual meetings in the spring,"
McGee said. "He expects a lot, that's what you want. He expects us to be fast-tempo, balanced, running and throwing. As a quarterback he wants whoever that is to be the leader of the offense, making sure everybody is on the same page and scoring points."