It is still unclear who will be the starting quarterback for Kentucky when the season opens in less than 2 weeks, but a positive for the Cats is that they have 3 signal callers with some experience on the roster. Obviously Max Smith started last season and was impressive for 2-3 games before injuries derailed his season. Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles had their struggles as his replacement. Either way, if Whitlow or Towles is the choice to start the season, they will become the 8th different UK quarterback to start a season since 1999. So, what does this mean? Well, first check out the statistics of those QB’s during their first years starting a season as the go-to guy. Keep in mind many of these QB’s had starting experience before beginning a season as the starter:
1999: Dusty Bonner (0 starts before season)
303-465, 65.2% comp.
26 TD’s, 13 INT
Record: 6-5 (Loss in Music City Bowl)
2000: Jared Lorenzen (0 starts before season)
321-559, 57.4% comp.
Record: 2-9 (No Bowl)
2004: Shane Boyd (Backup to Lorenzen in 2003, started 5 games before 2004)
138-263, 52.5% comp.
7 TD’s, 9 INT
Record: 2-9 (No Bowl)
2005: Andre Woodson (1 start prior to 2005)
146-253, 57.7% comp.
6 TD’s, 6 INT
Record: 3-8 (No Bowl)
2008: Mike Hartline (0 starts before season)
172-311, 55.3% comp.
9 TD’s, 8 INT
Record: 7-6 (Liberty Bowl Win)
*Hartline was pulled mid-season, but did start bowl game
2011: Morgan Newton (started 6 games in 2009, 1 game in 2010)
83-174, 47.7% comp.
8 TD’s, 7 INT’s
Record: 5-7 (no bowl)
*Newton injured after starting first 8 games
2012: Max Smith (3 starts in 2011 replacing Newton)
103-150, 68.7% comp.
8 TD’s, 4 INT’s
*Smith started 4 total games before injuring shoulder and ankle
A couple things I find interesting about these stats. First, Bonner had a pretty fantastic season but the other 6 guys all had their rough spots. Touchdown passes were hard to come by, but more importantly, the interceptions seemed to be about 1:1 to those touchdowns. Never a good ratio to see from your quarterback. But I also find it interesting that Boyd, Hartline, Newton, and Smith all failed to finish the season as the starter because of injury or performance. Part of that blame shouldn’t actually fall on the QB because the overall team those guys were leading were not very good. But will we see the same kind of numbers and wins if Whitlow or Towles is the starter in Game 1? Or does it matter for this year’s team seeing as Smith only got 4 games of experience last year and probably saw the field as much as the other 2 guys in 2012? Your thoughts?