The Kentucky Wildcats concluded another miserable season on Saturday night by losing to the Tennessee Volunteers, 27-14. The first season of the Mark Stoops Era did not go as anyone had planned, and the Wildcats must now look to the future and hope for better things.
Stoops is known as a defensive coach, and, for the most part, the Kentucky defense did improve as the season moved forward. However, the offense never got on track under offensive coordinator Neal Brown.
The main problem for the Big Blue offense was poor play at quarterback. Both Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow played during the season, but neither was effective. Brown loves to run the “Air Raid” offense, but the Wildcats could never get enough consistency behind center this season.
Heading into spring practice, there will be at least five quarterbacks under consideration for the starting position. Smith and Whitlow will be joined by redshirts Patrick Towles and Reese Phillips, as well as true freshman Drew Barker, who plans to enroll in January. One of these five will need to step forward and take control of the position and of the offense.
Without strong quarterback play, Brown’s offense simply will not work. That was shown all season as Kentucky struggled. Finding the right quarterback for the 2014 season is the number one priority for Brown and Stoops this offseason.
One bright spot on offense, especially on Saturday night, was Dyshawn Mobley. The sophomore running back had his best game on Saturday, rushing for a career high 143 yards. Mobley had 92 yards last week against the Georgia Bulldogs, meaning he rushed for 235 of his 300 yards in the last two games of the season. Mobley should compete with Jojo Kemp and Stanley “Boom” Williams for playing time next season.
Even with contributions from players like Mobley, the Wildcats absolutely must find a quarterback to lead the team.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.