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Film Room: Lynn Bowden, Jr. at Quarterback

The quarterback position for the University of Kentucky football program is currently influx with two scholarship players being dealt season-ending injuries and grad transfer Sawyer Smith currently dealing with three different minor injuries. With Darin Hinshaw’s position room now being worn thin, the Wildcats are converting a slot receiver to full-time quarterback this week.

Lynn Bowden, Jr. starred at quarterback for Warren G. Harding High School where he was named Division II offensive player of the year and was runner-up for Mr. Football in Ohio in 2016. The blue-chip recruit finished as the state’s sixth all-time leading rusher with 7,387 career rushing yards, but also tossed the ball around a little bit. During his senior season, Bowden passed for over 1,300 yards while leading his team to a 11-2 record before a loss in the Division II Regional Championship.

He was a run-first quarterback for the Raiders, but was able to do some damage with his arm. We’ve seen some of that throughout the last three seasons in Kentucky’s wildcat package. Through his college career, Bowden has completed 66.7 percent of his nine passes and is putting up 14.55 yards per throw. Two of the three incompletions in his career have been interceptions, but he’s proven to have some throwing ability.

On this edition of KSR Film Room, we’ll take a look back to Bowden’s high school tape and what we’ve seen from him as a passer to this point in his college career. The star receiver does have some tools to play the position and he can probably make some throws you did not think he was capable of making.

For numerous reasons, Bowden’s high school staff preferred to get him on the run when passing the football. This element can work like a traditional play-action fake because the linebackers are thinking they need to stop the quarterback run first. This can create some wide open throwing lanes where a quarterback can play pitch-and-catch. Bowden comes out under control and hits the receiver closest to the left tackle for nice completion on the quick out route. Eddie Gran has used some sprint out concepts in the past on certain third down situations to try to create an easy throw on a flood passing concept (three receivers to one side of the field to take advantage of numbers for a defense not in man coverage). Expect to see similar actions used with Bowden at quarterback. Especially on third downs.

Another throw Bowden seems to be comfortable with is the slant route and this is something Kentucky could really take advantage of. With the quarterback run game now back in the offense, the Wildcats will see linebackers and safeties peeking into the backfield in an effort to get a head start on run defense. This aggressiveness can create an easy throw for your quarterback.

Here you see a classing RPO slant bubble look. The quarterback has three options on the play and Bowden makes the right read. After the fake, He sees the defensive back jump the bubble screen while the slant route gets behind the linebacker. It’s an easy throw for a big gain.

Speaking of man coverage, Kentucky has liked to go to Ahmad Wagner when given press coverage by throwing the fade. We’ve seen the former Iowa basketball transfer score on it twice this season and UK consistently has gone to it in key situations the last two weeks. This route has to be in the playbook because it’s a key play to get one of their best offensive players involved in the game. Bowden possesses that throw.

Just outside the red zone, the high school quarterback drops the ball in the bucket from about 35 yards out while throwing his receiver open for a touchdown. From all the throws you can find on Bowden, this one should excite you the most. Kentucky is still going to be able to take advantage of Wagner’s physical abilities because Bowden can deliver the ball on the fade.

On this week’s edition of Inside The Play, we showed just how dangerous Lynn Bowden, Jr. could be if he broke containment. One of the biggest plays against South Carolina occurred because of a defensive gaffe, but the mobile quarterback can also make something out of nothing.

This shortened GIF shows you some of that ability. On the play, Bowden had the ball for around 12 seconds as he made multiple defenders miss before dumping the ball off to his running back for a nice gain. Due to his athletic ability, he will give opposing defenses fits and this ability to extend plays could help Kentucky create some huge gains when the opposing defensive personnel is scattered.

On Bowden’s high school tape, there are multiple throws where he takes some deep shots but you unfortunately cannot see the full play due to the camera missing the reception. However, we have seen Bowden make a throw deep before.

Against Tennessee in 2017, UK uses Bowden on the sprint out look mentioned above and takes a deep shot. The true freshman hits Tavin Richardson on the Out-N-Up for a big completion. The ball traveled about 42 yards in the air for Bowden on this cold night with a glove on his throwing hand. As we saw last week, he takes it off when playing full-time quarterback and that should give his ball a little more juice. He can’t drive it well enough to throw a deep post, but he has enough arm talent to give his receiver a chance on a go-route on the outside.

If Sawyer Smith is unable to go against Arkansas and moving forward, Lynn Bowden, Jr. will not be a case of just putting your best athlete at quarterback and seeing what happens. The offensive star does have some arm talent and can make more throws than you expect. With that said, he’ll certainly have some limitations and he’ll need to prove he can read zone coverages to help Kentucky move the chains. However, this is going to be an establish the run first attack.

Kentucky now has the quarterback run game back in the offense and that is going to be a concern for every defense. If the offensive line gains some of the swagger back it lost the last two weeks, this should be a group that can do some really good things on the ground. You’ll have Kentucky’s tradition inside zone run staples, but off of that Eddie Gran will get to build more actions for the defense to cover. Expect everything from jet sweeps, to designed perimeter quarterback runs, and option elements where Bowden is reading an uncovered defender. He’ll have to make the proper reads in the option game, but in some ways, this offense just got much more difficult to defend with No. 1 behind center.

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Article written by Adam Luckett

Twitter: @AdamLuckettKSR

25 Comments for Film Room: Lynn Bowden, Jr. at Quarterback



  1. kjd
    12:14 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

    Defenses don’t have to respect his arm. They’ll load the box. Nothing new.
    If that’s all we have, you have to go with it.
    I don’t think it will be pretty.



    • makeitstop
      1:16 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

      That’s my feel, too. If we don’t hv a choice, then we don’t, but it feels a lot like mid season last year when we struggled to score but at least had a chance bc of the D. Better D up.



    • BluKudzu
      1:27 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

      We need at least 28 points per game to have a chance, and our defense has to get a lot better on preventing scores. A few of the points on the board in their previous games was not their fault, and I am certain they can do it.

      Pick them up Kash. This is where you can really be the impact UK needs going forward.

      Go Cats.



  2. N-UR-i
    2:14 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

    He throws the ball as opposed to passing it. Subtle difference, but important.

    That being said, I am a huge Bowden fan. I hope he kills it



    • 4everUKblue
      3:44 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

      I’m right there with you, huge Bowden fan.



    • J. Did
      4:24 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

      I pray he stays injury free.



    • PeterSagan
      5:15 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

      Difference between a throw and a pass??



    • satcheluk
      9:28 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

      It’s nuanced, but maybe like the difference between a pure shooter and a scorer in basketball. A passer is more refined. A thrower gets by on talent and arm strength rather than technique.



    • 4everUKblue
      10:32 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

      Bowden is a hell of an athlete, I believe he can and will do whatever it takes to the best of his ability.



  3. Southky
    3:05 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

    Sheesh…..I guess when you are desperate, whatever.



  4. Southky
    3:08 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

    Sheesh….I guess when you are desperate, whatever.



  5. J. Did
    4:25 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

    Southky has short term memory loss.



    • Southky
      4:33 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

      Lol… oops, double post.



  6. CopenhagenCat
    6:15 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

    This is going to be awful.



  7. notFromhere
    7:36 pm October 3, 2019 Permalink

    The defense hasnt had much of a rest the past 3 weeks. Between turnovers and 3 and outs, it’s been a pretty good showing on their part. Still have a lot to clean up, but they’re just an assignment here or there from a really good game.

    The question will be- Do the SEC refs let us run a hurry up when we want to run a hurry up, or do they stand over the ball every down until the defense is ready?

    Our D has been playing kick to gun every week of the past 3 with rarely a big drive to give them rest. If the O can put together some sustained drives and finish long drives in the endzone at least 3 times, I think we can win some games, and the D may look much better than people are giving them credit. Hang on to the ball, put together long scoring drives where the clock runs, and finish those drives with touchdowns. The D can stop teams enough to make that a winning effort.



    • JASUN74
      4:10 am October 4, 2019 Permalink

      Notfromhere, the refs don’t just hold up the play for no reason. It’s because if the offense subs a player, the defense is allowed to sub a guy also, so the ref has to give the defensive player time to get off the field. Thanks brother, just trying to explain that for you. I kinda thought that too a few years ago and would get beat red and cuss everything all to hell. Hehe. Notice next game and you’ll see the difference between plays when they sub. Now if the offense doesn’t sub and then the defense try’s to, that’s when you try to hike the ball before he gets off the field for the 12 men on the field penalty. I’m sure you probably knew that anyway.

      Anyway I do agree with you about the defense. They’ve been killed every game. Maybe with Lynn in there we can get our ground game going better and help sustain some longer drives and get some first downs. I personally think he can be extremely efficient back there if he doesn’t try to hit the home run ball a lot. He’s a natural and I’m kinda excited about seeing how he does. If he just had Michael Vick’s arm. Hahaha. Like someone said above about scoring 28 points a game. I believe with him in there that number should go down because he’ll take a lot more time off the clock and give our defense more time to catch their breath.

      You just really never know what will happen, but, you know me, I try to keep it positive if at all possible. Lol. It could be a just what we need to get it back on track and salvage this season. I haven’t lost one bit of hope and the truth is I still think we’ll win 7 or 8 games. I trust this Staff and I’m still tickled to death about the future of this program. I know one thing though, all of those bandwagon fans that was all in all off season and now have left, I say they need to stay gone. You have a good one brother.



  8. KatsKlaws
    12:38 am October 4, 2019 Permalink

    The question is has it just been decided that WW doesn’t have what it takes to play….I have heard really no talk of him even preparing to step in …
    If this is the case why is he on the team?



    • DelrayCat
      1:05 am October 4, 2019 Permalink

      Every team needs a red-jerseyed clipboard holder on the sidelines for games.



    • JASUN74
      4:20 am October 4, 2019 Permalink

      KatsKlaws, I believe his shoulder still isn’t 100% and he can’t make the same throws he used to before having those two surgeries on it. It really is a shame!! I still think I’d let him try and see if he can help us, at the very least he can make the short passes and he’s a damn good athlete and can run as good as any other quarterback in the country. If I was him and after knowing I’ll never even get a chance to play Quarterback here, I’d ask to redshirt and move to corner or somewhere in the secondary. I’ve always heard he can flat out play defense and it’s been talked about before playing D!

      I do know what you mean and it’s got to be frustrating to not even get a shot at it. I think they don’t him pretty bad when they asked him to warm up and them put Bowden in. Now, it was probably the right move because he came down and scored our only TD!! Lol. Even so, I’d sure want a chance if it were me in his situation.



  9. ibescootch
    1:41 am October 4, 2019 Permalink

    Maybe I’m being optimistic, but remember last season when we had a run first offense, and we did ok? Teams can’t just stack the box because they have to respect that even if he starts running, Lynn can find open receivers down field. And as good as Benny was, he wasn’t fast, and he couldn’t get outside quickly and around the edge. Bowden can. Once he’s outside the pocket, he’s a wild card, and will give defenses fits because he’s so volatile. Just my two sense.



    • JASUN74
      4:27 am October 4, 2019 Permalink

      Man I’m kinda right there with you. Also, where Rose, Smoke and C Rod can actually catch out of the backfield, that should cause everyone to get more optimistic. Not that Benny couldn’t catch, they just never gave him the chance very often if any. I think Bowden could be electric out there, I just hate losing such a good receiver. It may be better though because he was quitting on routes and it cost us sometimes. Maybe whoever takes his place will actually finish every route and not just the ones he thinks may come to him. Lol No matter if it’s thrown your way or not, it is supposed to be all the way through for a good reason.



  10. bbn606
    9:07 am October 4, 2019 Permalink

    Wildcat left, wildcat right and bubble screen for no gain. Somebody just shoot me.