It might be a little bit morbid and pessimistic to talk about this but the fact of the matter is that Patrick Towles has probably a 50-50 shot of making it through this season without injury. Last season, 8 of the 14 SEC teams had to start at least 2 QB’s because of injury at some point in the season. Kentucky didn’t have that issue last year, with Towles only missing a couple drives against Tennessee due to injury. This year I hope we have the same kind of luck. But what if we don’t? Where do you currently stand on who should be the backup QB? Here are the options:
REESE PHILLIPS (REDSHIRT SOPHOMORE)
Career Stats: 2-9, 45 yards, 1 INT (3 games)
The Good: Phillips has been in the Mark Stoops program for 3 years now. He has good quarterback size and reports are he impressed at practice in 2014. He’s been waiting in the wings for a while, so he should be hungry if given a chance. On the SEC Academic Honor Roll, so clearly a smart kid.
The Bad: Will he even be available in 2015? Ruptured his achilles in March and his status is unknown for this season. Even if he is cleared, will he be hampered by the injury. Not highly ranked, so maybe the elite talent just isn’t there. Somewhat of a forgotten man, so maybe his confidence is shaken. In limited action, has not been impressive.
DREW BARKER (REDSHIRT FRESHMAN)
Career Stats: None
The Good: Highly touted quarterback, so must be some talent there. Became a fan favorite after connecting early and efforts in recruiting. High expectations sometimes motivate guys to high achievement.
The Bad: Really had a bad start to his UK career. Lost out on job in 2014 Spring and was redshirted. Has since gotten into air gun incident that saw a suspension, was a key instigator in UL pre-game fight, was involved in bar/dorm fight that saw him knocked out, teammates didn’t help Barker after punch, sent questionable tweet during Women’s World Cup about Pearl Harbor, have all these incidents damaged reputation amongst fans? Will Towles only lose job because of injury after successful 2014?
Wheras in basketball an elite starting 5 can go a long way, in football the backups matter greatly. You have to have depth, especially on the offensive and defensive lines, to compete at the highest levels in college football. And it seems the QB position has become that way too. Look at Ohio State. They were able to fight through TWO season-ending quarterback injuries to the national title. While Kentucky likely won’t be fighting for a national title this year, they will be fighting for a bowl. But could they do that if they had to go to QB2?
And if there is a QB2, who do you want that to be to start the season?