Coastal quarterback, coach talk about Anderson's improvements
Kilton Anderson isn’t averse to traveling wherever necessary to play football.
The quarterback has already crossed the country twice – with a couple stops in between – and the second coast-to-coast trip has landed him at Coastal Carolina as a junior this season.
He believes he has found a place to unpack his luggage, and has worked his way into an opportunity to potentially earn the Chanticleers starting job.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Anderson said. “I can run and throw the ball. I think this offense fits me well and I think as we go on we’ll continue to see more of that.”
Anderson grew up in Naples, Fla., moved to Washington state for his senior year in high school, spent two years at Fresno State and attended another pair of schools including New Mexico Military Institute before finding Coastal.
He has been hampered through the early part of the season with a hamstring injury that has healed enough for him to get on the field.
In his first action of the season last week at Arkansas State, Anderson was 5-of-16 passing for 133 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown pass to senior Chris Jones.
“I think he shows great poise when he’s back there,” said Jones, who has more than 1,000 career receiving yards. “He doesn’t seem too rattled. I feel he gives us a good opportunity to get everyone the ball, not just one guy. I feel he sees the field a lot more than our other quarterbacks.
“He can help our run game by making teams respect our run more and spreading the field.”
Coastal offensive coordinator and interim head coach Jamey Chadwell said Tyler Keane will start and Anderson will also play at Appalachian State on Saturday.
“Kilton can do a little bit more things with his legs so we’re trying to use him some,” Chadwell said. “That way we can try to not be a sitting duck back there at quarterback.
“… He throws the ball pretty well, moves pretty well, he’s a little bit more athletic than Tyler, and he can help us maybe open up the offense more a little bit more in certain things, but he’s also smart enough to not do anything that’s going to kill us, jeopardize us with his decisions,” Chadwell said. “So we’re trying to get where we can be balanced and do some things where we can move the ball successfully.
Chadwell would like to solidify a quarterback position that has been a turnstile since All-American Alex Ross, who is now playing with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League, left following the 2015 season.
In the 18 games since, nine different players have taken a snap from center and 11 different players have completed passes when you include wide receivers Jones and Ky’Jon Tyler.
After going through seven quarterbacks last year, Keane has started five of the six games this season, sophomore Chance Thrasher started one game and has been out since injuring a knee on the first offensive play, and Dalton Demos, Austin Bradley and Anderson have also played.
Chadwell has created different packages for what he deems are the strengths of each quarterback, and Anderson may have the full skill set to execute just about all of the offensive playbook.
“Eventually,” Chadwell said. “That was his first game in over two years so you’re trying to do some things he feels comfortable with instead of throwing a lot of things at him.
“… We still have to probably spoon-feed him a little bit more until we feel he’s completely comfortable doing a lot of things. Him being hurt with his hamstring early on really set him back. He was doing well where I think he maybe had a chance to sort of be the guy from the get-go, but the hamstring set him back and he missed some quality time of learning, so we’re trying to speed that back up.”
Anderson, who is 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, believes Chadwell’s offense that incorporates passing and the option suits his game.
“I’m a dual threat. I think I definitely bring a more dynamic suit to the quarterback position,” Anderson said. “I just have to get healthy, stay healthy and continue to watch the film and get better day after day.
“I think we have a lot of talent. There are a lot of guys surrounding me that I think have a lot of upside.”
Anderson has taken a circuitous route to Conway.
He played at Naples High through his junior year, leading his team to a 12-1 record and state semifinals berth, and transferred to Skyline High in Sammamish, Wash., his senior year because his father relocated for a job.
The move to a new school threatened to derail his college football aspirations.
“It was definitely a bummer,” Anderson said. “You grew up with all these kids in Florida and you have your best friends and you’re going into your senior year, supposed to be your best year with all your friends and buddies. I just had to adapt. I went up there and made the best of the situation and did the best I could with what I had.”
Anderson managed to earn the starting QB position at Skyline in preseason and passed for 2,116 yards and 15 TDs while rushing for 544 yards and 11 TDs in a 9-2 season to draw attention from predominantly West Coast colleges, including Fresno State.
“I think it worked out to my benefit. I ended up at Fresno State, a great program,” he said. “Of course it didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but you can’t look back, just have to keep moving forward.”
Following a redshirt season, Anderson played in eight games for the Bulldogs and started five in a situation similar to the current one at CCU, as four different QBs started games. He completed 78 of 157 passes for 87 yards with two TDs and five interceptions, and rushed 51 times for 211 yards to finish as the Bulldogs’ third-leading rusher.
At Fresno I obviously preferred to run the ball a little bit more, but coming off a hamstring injury I have to air it out. But I think I’m starting to come back to enjoying the run a little bit more.
CCU quarterback Kilton Anderson
He believes he tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder in his first start, but it wasn’t diagnosed and he started four more games thereafter. “I knew something was wrong. I mentioned my arm hurting, but I’m not a big complainer so I sort of fought through it,” Anderson said. “As the season went on it got worse and worse, of course, and after the season I found out I needed to have surgery.”
Freshman Chason Virgil had won the starting job late in the season, and with a full year of rehab upcoming Anderson weighed his options. “It was one of those risk factors, I thought I should look for a better opportunity where I could go in and make an impact,” Anderson said.
After leaving Fresno State he spent a spring semester at New Mexico Military Institute, sending films to a number of schools. Coastal invited him for a visit. “I loved it and decided to take no more visits and the rest is history,” Anderson said.
Chadwell knew of Anderson as a friend of his coach at Naples High, and Anderson had a couple friends that played for Chadwell at Charleston Southern.
“I love this sport. I wouldn’t play if I didn’t,” Anderson said. “So every time I get out there and I get to play with a band of brothers there’s no better feeling than that.”
No matter where it is.
Who: Coastal Carolina (1-5, 0-3 Sun Belt) at Appalachian State (4-2, 3-0 Sun Belt)
When: 2:30 p.m.
Where: Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, N.C.
TV: Live online on ESPN3
Live stats: Through www.goccusports.com GameTracker
Radio: WRNN 99.5-FM