Kentucky will have its final scrimmage of the Fall today. At stake are a number of position battles, including the starting Center and two of the LB jobs. However the focus will be where it almost always is, at the QB position, where Mike Hartline and Morgan Newton will make their case for the starting job (Ryan Mossakowski is there as well, but most assume he is in 3rd place at this time). Both men can make their cases effectively. Mike Hartline can point to his history having won on the road at Louisville, and his experience at “managing games” over the last two years. Morgan Newton can point to two road wins last year (Auburn, Georgia) that were as impressive as any road victories in recent UK history and his continued improvement during the course of the season. Neither has blown anyone away during their time on the field, but both have had spurts of success.
From all indications, the battle has been very close. Mike Hartline probably began with a slight edge and it was told to me that he was more impressive out of the gate. However Morgan Newton has been closing strong and seems to have ramped up his play in the last week. This is why the closed scrimmage is so important. It is the last chance to show Joker Phillips and Randy Sanders what each player can bring to the table in the closest thing resembling game action that they will see.
Even with the scrimmage however, it might be prudent for the coaches not to announce a starter regardless. Why give Louisville the chance to prepare for a particular Quarterback going into a rivalry game on the road? The problem with that is that a starter will have to be named internally for game preparation. If one QB gets more reps, the team will know who the starter is and the chances of keeping any leaks from occurring, in this internet age, would be virtually impossible. So it is very likely that even if the public doesnt know, the coaches will know after today who it will be….Hartline or Newton. If it were you and based on seeing nothing in practice (thus making the decision as uniformed as possible), who would you take?