Kentucky Wildcats Still Searching for Starting Quarterback

By Tim Letcher

Head coach Mark Stoops and offensive coordinator Neal Brown hoped that spring practice could determine a starting quarterback for the Kentucky Wildcats. But if Saturday’s game is any indication, that decision is still up in the air.

Redshirt sophomore Patrick Towles got the starting nod, and was the best of the three candidates that played in Saturday’s Blue-White scrimmage. Towles was 11-of-15 for 126 yards with an interception, but the team did move the ball when he was on the field. Most impressive was the two-minute drill that Towles led at the end of the first half, which resulted in a field goal.

Reese Phillips, a redshirt freshman, appeared to be tight in the game. Phillips did connect on 10-of-17 through the air for 74 yards, including a beautiful 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Steven Borden.

Kentucky fans were anxious to see early enrollee Drew Barker on Saturday. Barker has been tabbed as the quarterback of the future for the Wildcats, but his first game in front of a big crowd was not his best effort. Barker missed open receivers on a couple of occasions, which stunted his numbers. For the game, Barker was 7-of-19 passing for 74 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown strike to Demarco Robinson.

None of the performances on Saturday led Stoops or Brown to declare the race over. However, it was apparent to fans in attendance that Towles has improved his play enough to become the starter this fall. While he still has work to do, he was the best of the three on Saturday, which will give him an edge heading into fall camp.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for 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.


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