Stoops hopes to solidify quarterback position

By Matt Overing

[email protected]

In UK football’s 1-3 start this season, two quarterbacks have split time leading the offense. Stoops said Monday he’d like to see one player step up and take the job.

“We would like to get to one (quarterback),” Stoops said. “We need to continue to evaluate that.”

Sophomore quarterbacks Jalen Whitlow and Maxwell Smith have both thrown at least 50 passes this year.

Each of the quarterbacks has started two games thus far. Whitlow started the opener against Western Kentucky University and the SEC opener against the University of Florida. Smith started against the University of Miami (Ohio) and the University of Louisville.

Against Florida, both quarterbacks failed to surpass 100 yards throwing the ball and neither threw a touchdown pass. UK’s lone touchdown was a 25-yard fake field goal run by senior kicker Joe Mansour.

Stoops said that both quarterbacks have played well, but neither has played well enough to secure the spot.

“I think we are going to try to gear (the offense) to one person, give them most of the reps and see what he can do,” Stoops said. “It has not been clear-cut to this point.”

Smith has completed 44-of-76 throws on the year for 634 yards. He has thrown four touchdowns and one interception.

Whitlow is 33-of-50 for 321 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He is also the Cats’ second-leading rusher with 29 carries for 169 yards on the ground. He leads the team with two rushing touchdowns.

Stoops did not mention freshman quarterback Reese Phillips or sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles as potential starting candidates. Neither Phillips or Towles has received a single snap this year.

Stoops said the coaching staff would evaluate the quarterback situation this week before UK travels to play No. 13 University of South Carolina.

“It would be reckless for us to name one person to this point, because nobody has taken the job,” Stoops said. “We are going to evaluate it hard this week and see where we’re at.”

Stoops added his team is looking for a single leader at quarterback.

“I think we need one of these guys to take the reins and lead our team,” Stoops said.