Following his first collegiate start at quarterback for the Slippery Rock University football team, Andrew Koester, a 6’4″, 215lbs. junior, is now looking toward the rest of the season to help his team remain competitive in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).
Koester, a 2015 graduate from West Allegheny High School in Imperial, Pennsylvania, had to compete with three other players, all vying for that starting positon, during the preseason before ultimately being named the starting quarterback by head coach Shawn Lutz. Lutz said what ultimately made the coaching staff decide on Koester being the starting quarterback was his experience being on the team last year, as well as having some Division I experience. Koester played two seasons, the first sitting out as a redshirt, at Saint Francis University (Pa.). Although The Rock recruited Koester coming out of high school, Lutz said, he ultimately decided to compete at a higher level.
“We have a great relationship with West Allegheny,” Lutz said. “Their coach called us up and told us that Andrew was thinking about leaving Saint Francis. It was a great fit for him coming here to be a part of our program.”
Koester said that transferring from a Division I program to a Division II one was not much of a transition.
“Honestly, there wasn’t much of a difference for me,” Koester said. “Slippery Rock is just as much as a Division I program as any other D-I program out there.”
Koester transferred to The Rock for the 2017 season and served as the backup to starter Tanner Garry, a transfer himself. He played in three games during the 2017 season, throwing for 90 yards on six completions.
Koester said he learned a lot from serving as Garry’s backup last season.
“Even watching him in film, I learned a lot from Tanner and the type of player he was,” Koester said. “He taught me a lot of things and had a lot of great advice for me when it was my time to become the starter.”
Lutz believes it was “crucial” for Koester to have served as the backup to Garry last season. Koester was able to take a year to not just learn from Garry, but to learn from the entire offense, Lutz explained.
“When the season was over last year, he worked hard during the offseason and had a great spring, which should translate over into this season,” said Lutz, passionately.
Lutz has called Koester a “very strategic” quarterback and a much better runner than Garry.
Koester believes he is able to effectively execute what the coaches want him to do on the field, which makes him a great leader, not just physically, but mentally as well.
Coming off his first collegiate start and a 38-31 victory over Kentucky State University on Saturday, Lutz said Koester is going to be much calmer now that it is not his first start anymore. Koester will hopefully eliminate some of the mistakes he made in the first game, such as turning over the football, Lutz said.
Koester said he gets “butterflies” on game day, but says that’s part of the fun because it means he is having fun and is still excited for the game.
“It’s an honor being the quarterback for Slippery Rock,” said Koester, respectfully. “I am proud to lead my teammates out into battle every week.”
Koester and the rest of the Slippery Rock University football team will look to improve their record to 2-0 when they travel to Shippensburg University to take on the Raiders (1-0). Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Seth Grove Stadium in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.