Kentucky Wildcats Face Crucial Quarterback Decision

Mark Zerof, USA TODAY SPORTS

There is plenty of buzz around the Kentucky Wildcats as they prepare for their first fall camp under new head coach Mark Stoops. The new regime has brought excitement to the Bluegrass, along with hopes of improving Kentucky’s football fortunes.

While the 2013 season could be a rough one for Kentucky, the transition can be made easier if Stoops and offensive coordinator Neal Brown make the right call at the most important position on the field, quarterback.

The Wildcats have three sophomores competing for the starting job. Maxwell Smith was the starter at the beginning of the 2012 season before going down with a leg injury. Jalen Whitlow got the majority of the snaps last season, and showed flashes at times, despite being a true freshman playing in the SEC. Patrick Towles also saw action last year, but was injured early and was never quite the same after that.

Stoops and Brown are looking for a leader that can throw the ball around in Brown’s pass-happy offense. If healthy, Smith would seem to be the easy choice, because of his experience. However, he didn’t play well in the spring game, and now must fight to regain his starting spot.

Whitlow looked good in the spring game, and he adds a dimension to the offense that the other two candidates don’t, which is his ability to run the ball. That could keep defenses honest and open the passing game a bit more.

Towles was a four-star recruit out of Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, Ky. He’s the sentimental favorite among the Big Blue Nation, but he appears to be third in the race at this point.

Stoops and Brown have said that they would like to make a decision on a starter after two weeks of fall camp. That would allow the starter to get more reps with the first team and start to develop timing with the receivers.

This is the first big football decision facing Stoops, and he needs to get it right to help the Wildcats stay afloat in 2013.

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