By LARRY VAUGHT
Quarterback Drew Barker has had his off-field issues at Kentucky. Now getting ready for his redshirt sophomore season, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops is seeing not only improved play on the field, but improved maturity both on and off the field. In fact, Tuesday he said there was a “big difference” in Barker’s maturity level and that should be good news for UK football fans.
“I don’t see the ups and downs. I see a guy that’s very steady. You’d have to ask him, but I see a guy that’s enjoying practice but he doesn’t have to be out there talking. The guys are out there jawing, having fun, which I’m good with, but with him, I like to see the quarterback just being steady, very mature and I really like what I’m seeing out of him,” Stoops said.
“He’s competitive and he likes to play, but the off days. I’m seeing a guy who’s studying film more, that’s more serious about his business and that’s showing up on the field. He’s much more consistent.”
Stoops said he has not talked to Barker a lot this spring and called that a “good thing” when he has not had talk to him a lot individually.
“I’ll grab him here and visit with him from time to time. Right now, I just see consistency. I’d say he’s growing up and more comfortable and more serious in his approach and it’s showing up on the field,” Stoops said.
Another player who has had maturity issues despite being productive on the field is junior running back Boom Williams. He’s not having contact this spring because of offseason elbow surgery, but Stoops sees new offensive coordinator Eddie Gran having an impact on Williams already.
“He’s been out there and he has been more consistent. With a guy like Eddie Gran coaching him — Eddie’s been around a long time. He’s coached a lot of great running backs and is very seasoned and if Eddie can’t get him right, nobody can. I have seen him making improvements,” Stoops said.