Coaches hint QB change could be coming

For the first time this season, Kentucky’s coaches strongly hinted that it might be time for a change at the quarterback position.

“You do got to look at some options,” Coach Mark Stoops said when asked if the Cats have to think about making a switch at quarterback after a 27-3 drubbing at Georgia on Saturday. “Yeah, you do. You have to. In fairness to the team, I think you have to look at everybody.”

For the first time in 21 starts, Kentucky junior Patrick Towles passed for fewer than 100 yards, finishing the game with 96 before UK brought in Drew Barker midway through the fourth quarter.

Towles’ 96 yards were a career low as a starter and his eight completions (on 21 throws) were tied for his lowest.

His 38.1 percent completion rate was second worst in his career behind only the Florida game earlier this season when the junior hit on 33 percent of his throws.

“I can’t say I blame them,” Towles said. “I want to win football games, and if I’m not getting it done we need to play somebody else.”

In the last two games, Towles has completed just 51.1 percent of his passes. He’s had six interceptions and just two touchdowns in his past four games.

On what specifically went wrong on Saturday, Towles said: “Just kind of being a little hesitant. Not necessarily putting everything I had into the football. I think I made good decisions today. I just don’t think I threw the football well.

“There’s a lot to that, and I’ve got to go back to work and figure it out and become a better football player.”

And the coaches have to work to figure out how to make Kentucky’s offense, better, too. That may come with a position switch.

“We’re gonna watch it close and then we’ll meet and we’ll make decisions, but I mean, he’s not the only one out there,” offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. “I will say that. Typically, it’s one guy here, one guy there. But that guy does make it work. Everybody does understand that. We’ll look at it. We’ll make decisions.”

And that decision might be to play Barker, who has played in just two games this season in mop up duty. At Georgia, the redshirt freshman completed one of his two pass attempts for five yards.

“You’ve seen us change the depth chart at a lot of positions all the way through the season on who is playing well, and I think it’s fair to say that we have to look at the quarterback position,” Stoops said.

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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