By KEITH PEEL
It’s funny how things work out. Not comically funny but ironic.
Sometimes I find myself anxious because of a day that is jam packed with appointments and I don’t know how I will fit them all in. Then, miraculously, someone calls to cancel a two-hour block of time and I am back on schedule.
Or I am Christmas shopping and needing a specific item for that special person and it just so happens that it’s sold out. Completely. So, worried and somewhat depressed, I pick up this year’s sweater and head to the checkout line when I see the item I needed buried under a stack of flannel shirts. I drop the sweater and viola, I am back in business. All the worry and anxiety have vanished.
That’s kind of how I felt about this year’s football team. Specifically our quarterback situation. Coming into the season it seemed like we were in an “iffy” situation. We had lost two quarterbacks that had decided to transfer and play at another school. Patrick Towles went to Boston College as a graduate transfer. Reese Phillips left to compete for the starting job at the University of Montana. In both cases the players were looking to better themselves through more playing time and a fresh start.
Unfortunately that left UK with a bare cupboard. We had one highly rated quarterback that appeared to have all the physical tools but little to no experience, another that was a true freshman with no experience and a walk-on quarterback with no game experience.
Not a good situation for a team playing in the Southeastern Conference.
But then, in walks Eddie Gran and Darin Hinshaw. A few weeks later in walks Stephen Johnson, a juco quarterback, who was slated to be the backup. Now after 12 weeks of football (and an unfortunate injury to Drew Barker) we have a 7-5 record, second place in the SEC East, a win over a highly rated UofL team on the road and a bowl game in the future.
Who would have dreamed after seeing that two of our three quarterbacks were leaving the program after last season that an anxiety filled situation would have paved the way for a winning season and all that goes along with it. No offense to Patrick or Reese but by them leaving the program it opened the door for Stephen Johnson to walk in and become the quarterback the program desperately needed. I truly believe if they had both stayed Stephen Johnson would not be on the UK roster today.
So we all owe a huge thank you to Patrick and Reese for taking their talents elsewhere and allowing Stephen Johnson to walk through that door into the starting lineup. Also we should send out a note of congratulations to Patrick Towles for getting Boston College to a bowl game this year after suffering through a difficult season last year; good luck to Reese Phillips and the Montana Grizzlies next season; “get well soon” wishes to Drew Barker and most important of all …. Welcome Home, Stephen Johnson!