Earlier today on KSR, Mark Stoops said he’s ready to play whichever quarterback gives his team the best chance to beat Vanderbilt on Saturday. Although Patrick Towles is still listed as the starting quarterback on the depth chart, Stoops told reporters that he’s informed Patrick that the job is open to both him and Drew Barker this week.
“We’ve addressed it with Patrick,” Stoops said. “He understands that, he accepts that. He’s got to go out and perform and produce like everyone else on our team.”
How does Stoops think Patrick will respond to the competition?
“I think Patrick will be fine. I think one thing about him is he’s been resilient. He’s had some good games and some bad games and again, it’s not all on him. We need to play better around him and certainly offensively, when you put on that film and you look at the play of the other ten guys, it was not up to par as well.”
Although Drew Barker hasn’t gotten many snaps this season, Stoops said he’s been pleased with his progress.
“I feel more and more comfortable with him, I really do,” Stoops said of Drew. “I think he’s handled it very well. It was good for him to finally get some snaps against Mississippi State, and then he got the shoulder [injury] and was out for a week. Last week he came back and wasn’t at full strength with the zip on the football, but he was ready to play. This week, I expect him to be further along physically, ready to go. I think he’s handled it very well. He’s worked hard, he looks comfortable in practice.”
One knock on Patrick throughout his career is that, at times, he holds on to the ball too long. When asked what Drew brings to the table when he’s playing his best, Stoops said decisiveness.
“Quick decisions. We all know that’s important and I think one thing you see from him at times is he’s decisive at what he’s doing.”
Vanderbilt has one of the best defenses in the nation, which makes Saturday probably not the ideal time to switch quarterbacks, but with the offense only putting up 180 yards vs. Georgia, that’s just the reality of the situation.
“It’s crossed our minds,” Stoops said of the poor timing of the potential quarterback switch. “It’s difficult. We’ll see how the week goes. Again, whoever gives us the best chance to go into Vandy and win will take the first snaps. If we feel confident in both guys or one guy is struggling, we’ll go to the other.”