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The Overplayed, Over-Argued, Quarterback Debate

As another incredibly slow news days rolls through the Bluegrass, rather than talk about Richie Farmer and politics, I thought we could go back to an oldie, but a goodie: the quarterback debate at Kentucky.  All signs are pointing to Mike Hartline being the starter to begin the season for a 3rd straight year.  And keep in mind that is the guy who has beaten Louisville twice, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  But, the fans are certainly split about 63 ways on how Joker Phillips should handle the QB’s.

Kentucky probably is the only team in the country with 3 guys on the roster who have started games at quarterback, not to mention a hot shot Freshman ready to see his first action.  While some would call the QB situation a problem, I look at it like Kentucky should be able to find some option that’s a winner.  Just a real quick breakdown of each option:

MIKE HARTLINE
Career: 14 starts (8-6 record), 1 bowl win
Total Stats: 255-450 (56.7% completion), 15 TD, 16 INT
SEC Stats: 122-236 (51.7% completion), 7 TD, 10 INT

MORGAN NEWTON
Career: 8 starts (5-3 record), 0 bowl wins
Total Stats: 75-125 (60.0% completion), 6 TD, 3 INT
SEC Stats: 37-67 (55.2% completion), 3 TD, 2 INT

RANDALL COBB
Career: 4 starts (1-3 record), 0 bowl wins
Total Stats: 57-112 (50.9% completion), 2 TD, 5 INT
SEC Stats: Same

RYAN MOSSAKOWSKI
No Stats

Now, first things first, Randall Cobb should no longer be an option for starter on this team, in my opinion.  There are too many other good enough players at that position to not use Cobb where he is strongest, and that’s at receiver/wildcat formation.  Then the question becomes do you want the experience of Hartline or the raw talent of Newton, with Mossakowski being the wildcard. 

If you are Joker Phillips, do you need to pick a QB before the Louisville game and stick with that QB exclusively until it might go bad?  Or do you go ahead and play 2 or 3 of the QB’s as part of a system right at the beginning of the season?

If you choose Hartline exclusively, for instance, do you risk losing the interest of Mossakowski, who will now have gone 2 years with no shot of playing.  Or do you risk getting a disgruntled Newton, who ended the season as the starter, and now loses it after playing pretty well for most of season.

But, if you choose Newton, then what does that Hartline, who has been in the program for 3 seasons, and the starter for 2 seasons?  Does he then become a lame duck on the sidelines?

Point being, how Joker Phillips handles his QB’s is going to be his first major decision as head coach.  Keeping these 3 guys happy despite knowing that 2 of them will likely not get a ton of playing time is going to be difficult.  Here is to hoping he figures out how, because if reports are true, Newton and Mossakowski can both be key to continuing the success of the program in the future, while Hartline needs to bring a senior leadership this season, whether on or off the field, for another solid season.

What are you thoughts?  Taking Cobb out of the regular rotation, how do you deal with the other 3 guys?

Article written by Bryan the Intern