Mark Stoops has confirmed that the team will be trying out Lynn Bowden at the quarterback position.
This evening on his weekly radio show, the Kentucky head coach announced he would “continue to work [Bowden] in at quarterback” starting tomorrow when the Wildcats get back on the practice field.
“I think it’s no secret we’re going to continue to work Lynn in at quarterback, and then Walker Wood. We’ll use both of them out there [during practice],” Stoops said. “Everything is in play. We’ll see, it’s hard to see how this week is going to go. We’ll get those guys ready. A lot of talk has been out there about our quarterbacks, but Lynn gave us the best option. He gave us a great two or three weeks at the position [in practice].”
According to Stoops, starting quarterback Sawyer Smith is currently battling three injuries, and the goal is for the Troy graduate transfer to sit out all week at practice to allow time to heal.
“[Smith] is beat up, but he will recover,” he said. “Hopefully this week, we will have to rest him all week. I would anticipate resting him all week, that’s the plan anyway. Maybe he starts feeling better, but he’s got two injuries, actually a third one came up. Hopefully he’s looking better.”
In terms of Stoops’ decision to keep Smith late in the game, the Kentucky head coach was quick to admit that he likely should have pulled the injured quarterback a few series earlier than he did in the fourth quarter.
“[His injuries] just need time, it can get aggravated during the game,” he said. “With use, things like that. I didn’t think it would be anything long term or he wouldn’t have been in there, our doctors and trainers do a great job and wouldn’t put him in that position. In hindsight, I would have pulled him a few series early. We were just waiting to put a drive together, but he was definitely banged up.”
Moving forward, Stoops says Smith will need to be honest with the coaching staff with his health and whether or not he can truly be effective on the field. If he can’t, Bowden will take over first-team reps and start against Arkansas.
“Definitely, yeah. We have to be cognizant about that,” Stoops said. “He needs to be honest about that, whether or not he’s going to be effective. If he’s not 100% or close to that, he needs to tell us that. We’ll have a package this week that will work specifically for Lynn and Walker. Even if Sawyer is healthy enough to practice next Monday, we have to be ready for Lynn.”
If Bowden starts in two weeks against Arkansas, Stoops said he will not have to hold back in terms of the offensive playbook. The Kentucky believes his star receiver has a firm grasp of the playbook and can run the offense in its entirety.
“We’ll run our entire offense, his vision is so impressive,” he said. “Dropback and RPO-wise. It also helps to have an athletic guy back there, you can’ just tee off and rush. It helps when we have struggles on the offensive line like we’re having now. You have to be disciplined in your rush lanes when you have Terry back there, he can get around you and beat you in a hurry.”
Stoops compared Bowden’s effectiveness in the backfield to some running quarterbacks in the NFL and how difficult they have been making life for elite defenses.
“You can tell just by watching that game. When he went in there, the pass rush was different,” Stoops said. “They had to be more disciplined in their rush defense. They had to be more disciplined, so it wasn’t as effective. You can watch that in the NFL right now, some of the very elusive guys, the defense has to be more disciplined. They’re also in a predicament because they have to decide whether they’re going to go man or zone. If you go zone, Lynn can nickel and dime you, and then pull it down and run it if need be.”
On Bowden’s drive, which ended up being Kentucky’s lone touchdown drive against South Carolina, the star receiver’s scramble from the 28-yard line down to the two was a phenomenal example of that.
If Lynn Bowden is going to be the Kentucky QB going forward, this is going to be exciting to watch. pic.twitter.com/tKXLZev9cS
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) September 29, 2019
Should he start against Arkansas, Bowden certainly sounds up for the challenge, posting an image of him throwing the ball on Saturday against South Carolina with the caption “Flashbacks.”
Flashbacks ? pic.twitter.com/dwuLbiO09z
— Lynn Bo (@LynnBowden_1) September 30, 2019
As a senior in high school, Bowden threw for 1,366 total yards and rushed for 2,277 yards, accounting for 57 total touchdowns.
As a quick refresher, check out his senior highlights, where he served as Warren G. Harding High School’s primary quarterback option: