Mark Stoops faced questions from QB during SEC Media Days
Photo by Jacob Noger | British football
Quarterbacks competition is a hot offseason topic for fans of Kentucky Football. There is summer speculation about the pecking order of the UK’s three options for the starting role, a three-way race between returlers Joey Gatewood and Beau Allen, and the big man in the transfer of Penn State Will Levis.
Mark Stoops wants to keep this decision in-house and he’s done a pretty good job so far, but SEC Media Days isn’t a good place to keep secrets. With nowhere to hide under the bright lights of Birmingham, Stoops has been asked several times about the current state of his QB rotation and what he hopes to see from the future starting position winner.
The first of the quarterback’s many decision-making questions came before it advanced to the main stage of the SEC Media Days. Stoops told KSR’s Nick Roush and other reporters on site in Alabama, “There are a lot of things that go into this decision. At the end of the day, who is going to give us the best opportunity to win games? This is the most important thing. How successful is the team when that person is in there? I think each of these guys has strengths. We’ll see when we’re done camp, but at the end of the day it’s about how the team plays when that person is in the game and how do we get the ball moving? “
Once on the main stage, a radio station in St. Augustine, Florida, where Joey Gatewood played his high school football, asked a question specific to Gatewood’s progress and his position in the mix. Stoops replied: “Joey has been a great teammate, he really came and worked hard and got better every day. He had a really good spring; of course Will was not there this spring so he and Beau Allen were fighting for the starting position and Joey had a really good spring.
“Now you add Will to the mix and we’ve got a lot to look at. It’s good to have options. I feel great with those three and others in our schedule so we’ll see where it goes, but it’s had a really good spring. One of the things that impressed me the most about him was that he’s a big, strong guy, but he was very precise on the pitch. He got the ball on the pitch and was precise on the pitch, something we needed to improve on. “
One more for the road, Alyssa Lang of the SEC Network asked Stoops what qualities he looks for in his starting quarterback, whoever he is. Sitting on the network set with Lang and Roman Harper, Stoops said, “I’ve been asked this a lot today and it’s hard to describe. The bottom line is, the guy who gives us the best opportunity to win. Right? This is the simple answer. But there are a lot of things in there.
He added, “We had Beau Allen and Joey Gatewood in the spring, and I was impressed with these two guys. Both had days where they looked really elite and they really exploited the offense effectively. I was impressed with Joey. I felt like he was very precise to bring down the ball, something we are looking for. With the running game you have to have the ability to make explosive plays on the court, and I feel like Joey was precise, he had a strong arm, he had the ball on the court.
“So of course Did he just come to campus and everyone around the program, the players who played with him, just say he’s a different type of arm; really talented, really living arm. So we’ll see. There will be quite a bit of practice in between and we have some really good options. “
Stoops wasn’t the only one navigating the quarterback’s questions. One of the two players the UK sent with him, Britain defensive end Josh Paschal was also involved in the conversation on the other side of the ball. Paschal said in a TV interview with the SEC Network: “The QBs look good. I will say one thing about each of them. Every quarterback, period, in this room, they’re so competitive and that’s what I notice. They bring this competition to the practice field every day.
“I know Will, he just came in this summer, but I can see that fire in him too, just during practice sessions and him leading his group. Seeing all these quarterbacks, I would say the big chunk they all have is that competitive spirit.
In short, the UK escaped the SEC Media Days without revealing too much. The QB Battle and conversations around it will resume with the start of Fall Camp the first week of August.