Be careful what you wish for.
Kentucky Wildcats’ Patrick Towles wanted one of the most difficult jobs in college sports. He wanted to be an SEC quarterback. Mark Stoops granted that wish.
After thorough evaluation and a hard fought competition, we are naming Patrick Towles as our starting quarterback.
— Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) August 18, 2014
Stoops tweeted his decision to start Towles over redshirt freshman Reese Phillips and true freshman Drew Barker. Towles will take the Wildcats’ air-raid offense for a whirl in the Aug. 30 season opener against UT-Martin.
“We looked at everything. We looked at all spring, all camp,” Stoops said in a video on Kentucky.com. “… I told you all that for some time that they each do some good things and they each do some bad things. I’ve got confidence in all these guys … But Patrick’s done a very good job. I have a lot of confidence in Patrick. He’s worked extremely hard. I’ve said to you all before, that I was proud of his work ethic.”
Stoops sent Towles through the ringer, allowing Towles a taste of SEC success in his freshman season. In his first career drive against Mississippi, he went 5-for-5 for 71 yards and touchdown. But by the end of 2012, he had five starts and only that one touchdown. Stoops redshirted Towles for the 2013 season.
“A lot of people — a year ago, when he was told that he was not going to be in the mix — could’ve put their head down. They could’ve quit. They could’ve transferred … Or they face it and improve. And he worked. And I’m proud of that.
“I like the fact that he just went to work and to get better, and I just think that sends a good message to the rest of the team. But the truth is: he won the job …”
Phillips and Barker are left to fight over the backup position. When asked who his No. 2 is, Stoops laughed.
“Give me one day,” he said.
Phillips is the likely candidate, as he has handled most of the second-team reps. If that’s the case, Barker will likely be stashed away with a redshirt status.