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Is Anthony Turner ready for prime time?

It appears likely that Anthony Turner will replace Omar Jacobs as starting quarterback while Jacobs’ separated shoulder heals.

The question is, is AT ready for PT?

No, that doesn’t mean playing time. All back up quarterbacks are ready to play. It means prime time. As in, is Turner ready to step into the pressure of being the starting quarterback?

Can Turner handle what it means to be a starting quarterback on a team that has expected to play for the MAC Championship all season?

No one questions Turner’s talents. He has the skill set of former Bowling Green phenom Josh Harris – only with a stronger arm and more athleticism.

The question is if he can lead his team to a big-time win.

This is a query that Jacobs answered in his first start against Oklahoma. But can Turner?

One thing that will help is all of the veteran leadership surrounding the young Turner. He has Steve Sanders and Charles Sharon who get open and make big-time catches.

He has Rob Warren, senior, and Kory Lichtensteiger, sophomore, protecting him on the offensive line and busting holes open for senior tailback B.J. Lane.

When you talk to Turner, it is easy to tell that he is a little green when it comes to the spotlight.

He seems shy and his comments often trail off in a mumble before they are finished.

“To be successful you have to have the triple Cs,” Turner saidrecently. That would be calm, cool and collected for the uninitiated.

“I have the collected part down, but being calm and cool is a big thing to deal with right now,” he said.

He admitted to being nervous last Saturday.

“That is just part of being human and part of playing the game,” he said. “But after the first play you always get the jitters out and then everything goes away.”

That is the key to Turner and it was visible on the field in the Western Michigan game. He may be nervous, young and not love media attention, but once that first pass is out of his hands there is only one thing that matters – football.

Sort of like Omar Jacobs.

Turner admits that he has learned a lot both on and off the field from his mentor, Jacobs.

“You name it, I’ve learned it,” said Turner. “He’s a good quarterback and a great person.”

He has also learned the importance of two Hs to go along with the three Cs – humor and humility.

“He has a great sense of humor, that is the thing that I’ve learned from him the most. He carries himself in a way that I haven’t seen many quarterbacks carry themselves … He’s a very humble guy.”

Turner’s career won’t be defined based on his success tomorrow. He’s young and has many games in front of him. But if he can put all the distractions to the side and embrace the pressure, he will have only one thing to focus on, and it is something he is very good at – winning a football game.

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