The Kentucky Wildcats came out of spring practice without a starting quarterback. The battle, which started with four players and is now down to three (with the departure of Jalen Whitlow), appears to be headed for fall practice.
While this would be an important decision for any team and any program, it’s especially important for Kentucky at this juncture. The Wildcats were 2-10 last year, and the program needs a boost. Picking the right quarterback, one that can execute the “Air Raid” offense under offensive coordinator Neal Brown, is crucial.
Kentucky needs to make the right choice to keep the Big Blue Nation engaged in the program. With the UK basketball team slated to be ranked number one in the preseason, football could become an afterthought halfway through the season, unless Kentucky is competitive and/or fun to watch.
There’s also the fact that two of the three candidates for the job are homegrown talents. Patrick Towles, a reshirt sophomore, hails from Ft. Thomas. Drew Barker, a true freshman, is from Hebron. These two players brought high expectations to Lexington. If Brown and head coach Mark Stoops decide to pick the other option at quarterback, redshirt freshman Reese Phillips, it could cause some dissention in the fan base, especially if Phillips struggles early.
Kentucky’s brass must also consider that if they pick Barker or Phillips, they certainly risk losing Towles to a transfer. That would leave only the often-injured Maxwell Smith on the roster with any game experience behind center. And Smith may not be healthy enough to contribute in 2014.
It may seem like just a small decision, but picking the right (or wrong) quarterback this fall could change the direction of the Kentucky program.
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.