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By LARRY VAUGHT
With all the talk about the improved play of junior quarterback Mike Hartline, the progression of highly-touted freshman quarterbacks Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski has not been a big item of discussion during UK’s preseason workouts.
Both were hoping to play this year, but now there has been speculation both could be redshirted Ã¢â‚¬â€ something I still say will not happen. Apparently Joker Phillips, UK’s head coach of the offense, is leaning the same way, too, based on insights he offered after practice Wednesday.
Question: Is too much being expected of true freshmen quarterbacks Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski since they are not even No. 2 on the depth chart?
Phillips: Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are expecting too much from them. I have been trying to get people prepared for that. It is hard for a freshman quarterback to come in and do the things that you have to ask a quarterback to do, especially opening day. I think a few games from now Morgan Newton will be battling for the No. 2 position. We still have that competition for the No. 2 position between him and Will (Fidler) and that will continue throughout the rest of the season. We have to get our best players ready to play.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: So Newton might emerge and grasp the system better in a month much like Cobb did last year when he was also playing quarterback?
Phillips: Ã¢â‚¬Å“He could possibly. But this is a different situation. Mike is playing a lot better than he was last year. If he is struggling early, we have to go with Will right now. We have to try to hold Morgan as long as we can, but we also have to see if he can be our No. 2.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: So itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not likely that both Newton and Mossakowski will be redshirted this year?
Phillips: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Probably, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not out of the question also. You would like to redshirt them both, which if we are able to do that it means Mike is playing well and we feel good about Will also. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a good problem to have.Ã¢â‚¬Â