“Because I don’t like to see guys lose their job when they get hurt,” he said. “And when they came back, (Marshall) was just consistently playing at a high level. Now, I will say this for Matthew. The last two weeks of camp, Matthew probably played as good as he had played. He kind of got back into his thing. But I had pretty much already made up my mind.”
After the loss to Tennessee Monday night, Johnson said he had decided about 2 ½ to three weeks ago, which would be the start or middle of the second full week of preseason practice.
After he had made up his mind, Johnson said that Jordan was the first of the quarterbacks that he told, a thoughtful gesture. Johnson said he reminded him that the season is long. Despite Marshall’s hot start against Tennessee, there’s no script for the remaining 11 games.
While he had been hopeful that the starting job would be his, it would not be a surprise that Jordan handled the news maturely. He has faced his share of adversity already, having been diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes at 11. Rather than see it as a reason to complain and shrink, Jordan credits the disease for giving him the discipline that helped him become a straight-A student in high school and an FBS quarterback.
“Matthew’s a great kid, and he’s going to work hard,” Johnson said.
The pilot of the offense, though, is Marshall, whose one-game sample is promising.
“He’s got a good understanding,” Johnson said. “I think he’s got good leadership skills. That’s why we picked him to be the starter.”