As football season quickly approaches, Kentucky fans are entering that weird “will he or won’t he” period with the team’s quarterbacks. It’s a traditional UK football tale: the first kickoff is drawing near, and there is still talk about two quarterbacks.
We learned during SEC Media Days that Stephen Johnson had been informed he would be the starting quarterback to kick off the season. However, since the start of practice earlier this month, we’ve heard many positive reports about the play of Drew Barker.
Although the majority of fans seem to be confident in Stephen Johnson’s abilities and trust he will be the man leading the team this season, it’s never a given. If anything, last year should have proven to Kentucky fans that no one truly ever know what’s going to happen over the course of a season. From starting at a junior college to stepping up in the face of an injury to defeating the future Heisman Trophy winner, Stephen Johnson gave Kentucky fans plenty of reasons to love and respect him and his skills as QB. But doesn’t a tiny part of you still wonder about Drew Barker?
Could he protect the ball as well as Johnson? Could he do it better?
After a season-ending injury in just the third game of the season, it’s hard for fans to envision Barker back in the pocket. And maybe, just maybe, it would be easier if Johnson hadn’t been the quarterback who led the Cats to a victory over Louisville. Either way, he’s practicing at full capacity, according to his coaches. In an interview earlier this week, both Eddie Gran and quarterback coach Darin Henshaw agree: Drew Barker is practicing like he did before his back injury. But is that enough?
And then there’s redshirt freshman Gunnar Hoak. Although it seems incredibily unlikely he gets any significant playing time this season over the two veterans, you never know who may have to be the one to fill in when the going gets tough. Plus, don’t forget he was dubbed the star of the Spring Game back in April, outplaying Johnson
But it’s been a long summer, and a lot can happen in the months between the Spring Game and the first kickoff of the regular season. While the coaches have had extremely positive notes from practices and scrimmages, including about this season’s QB situation, a lot comes down to that first game against Southern Miss on September 2. So what do you think? Will we have another quarterback competition on our hands, or are you all in for Stephen Johnson?