By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown said Wednesday says he wants to pick a starting quarterback quicker than he did last year when he finally chose Jalen Whitlow over Maxwell Smith just before the season started.
Kentucky has five quarterbacks — Whitlow, Smith, Patrick Towles, Reese Phillips and Drew Barker — on the roster (Smith is not competing in spring practice due to a shoulder injury).
“We’re not going to give us a false deadline. It’d be like your editor saying you had to get it done at 12, and it really didn’t matter if you got it done at 12. It’s the same kind of deal. But I want to get it done faster. I think it’s important to the football team. But we’re going to do our due diligence on it also,” Brown said.
“The whole practice is better because they’re better. The receivers are better. The running backs are better. The O-line is better because (the quarterbacks) are better. Our quarterback play the last three practices has been better than it was last year. Jalen’s been there. He’s better now than he was when we finished Tennessee, and that’s not always the case. But they’ve got to improve. We didn’t play well enough last year.”
Brown also denied that Whitlow is the only dual threat quarterback among the group.
“Towles runs better than you think. He’s a big kid. I think everybody gets labeled because he’s a big kid. His Highlands film, he ran pretty well. He times pretty well. He really does. He can run it,” Brown said. “Drew ran it for a lot of yards in high school. Obviously you’re playing against faster guys now, but he’s a natural runner.
“Reese ran the ball well in high school. So all three of those guys, we can run the same play (as one called with Whitlow in). Now is Jalen going to run it better? Probably. But all of them can run the ball.”
Brown said Towles, who was redshirted last year, has improved getting his feet ready to throw the ball.
“His ball is coming out faster. He doesn’t have that long windup. He worked really hard on it, and you have to give him a lot of credit,” Brown said.
“Reese and Drew – Drew is obviously just getting here – but Reese is getting reps with the first group for the first time really. Both of those guys have added something. They’ve added a little bit of juice, and I’m excited about the progress both those guys are making. We’ve thrown a lot at them.
“We’ve had three days of heavy install, and on all three days we’ve looked as good in the three days than we did at any point last year. We’re better. I don’t think we’ve arrived, but we’re definitely better.”