Edward Aschoff over at ESPN’s SEC blog wrote up a little wrap up of the Wildcats’ spring campaign. He provided both three things that he believes Joker Phillips and the team answered during spring ball and three questions going into the season. One interesting point that Aschoff found to be an ‘answer’ was the repositioning of Marcus Caffey from running back to corner back. He says:
3. Caffey’s move: Kentucky entered the spring trying to replace two starters at cornerback, so the staff moved running back Marcus Caffey there. The experiment appeared to work, as Caffey was one of the more impressive looking players this spring. He caught on quickly at his new position and ended the spring as a starter. He’s also a bigger body and the coaches say he’s very durable. Both will come in handy against bigger receivers in this league.
Trevard Lindley was the last impact corner that the Cats had and even he struggled at times during his junior and senior seasons. If Marcus Caffey can step into his new position and make plays in an area of real need, he may be the best product of the offseason. The Cats return only five starters on the defensive side of the ball so players will need to step up in a big way this year if we’re going to avoid last year’s blowouts.
Aschoff went on to question the confidence in the quarterback position. While Maxwell Smith was thrown into the fire after Morgan Newton’s injury last season, he only showed flashes of promise. It’s possibly the most UK thing in the world to have the most memorable quarterbacking show of the season put on by a wide receiver, but without the shoulders of Matt Roark to place our burdens upon this season, who is going to step up?
3. Smith as the guy: Outside of the spring game, Maxwell Smith had a pretty impressive spring in Lexington. He seemed to develop his game the way the coaches wanted and needed him too, but his mistakes in the spring game brought some worry. He rushed his play and reverted back to some bad habits. While he’d be the starter if the season started today, the coaches hinted that the race is still open with Morgan Newton coming back from shoulder surgery and incoming freshman Patrick Towles arriving this summer. Smith might have improved, but Newton and Towles will get every chance to win the starting job. If Smith regresses again, he might fail to win the job he thinks is his to lose.
Three way quarterback controversies are never a good way to start a season. Hopefully, one of them can emerge and win the spot outright. Otherwise, the offense may provide more question marks than the defense.