UK Athletics

QBs 'Feeding Off Each Other' with Playing Time up in the Air

The week began with an apparent big change for Kentucky.

The competition at quarterback between Patrick Towles and Drew Barker was open anew, making for a compelling week.

But in reality, the change isn't all that significant, not in practice anyway.

"It's just been a normal practice week so far," Barker said on Tuesday. "We're just going 50-50 like always, still preparing the same way that I have been this whole time. Nothing really drastically different at all."

What is different is the way offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson is talking about who will play come Saturday at Vanderbilt.

"Really, it's almost 50/50 every week," Dawson said. "We've done that for a long time, so it just hasn't changed. He's still getting a lot of reps. By he, I mean both of them."

In spite of the air of mystery, Dawson already has a good idea how UK will approach playing time at the position. He's not tipping his hand though.

"We're evaluating it through the week," Dawson said. "We got a plan, put it that way, and we'll stick to the plan. I think it's the right one, I think it's a good one. We've got one more practice this week and obviously we'll evaluate that one, but we got a plan."

Towles, on the contrary, was more open.

"Yes, I am sure that I will be out there playing," Towles said. "Yes."

What that doesn't rule out is the possibility of both quarterbacks playing, but Barker won't engage in that kind of speculation.

"It's up to the coaches," Barker said. "Whatever they want to do, I'm going to support it. If it's Patrick, I'm going to support him 100 percent. It's all up to them and I have faith in what they're going to do. I'm not worried about it."

Towles and Barker are both taking a healthy approach to the situation, which is easier to do thanks to the strong relationship they share. Barker has been Towles' biggest fan when he's on the sideline and vice versa.

"We're on the same team," Towles said. "A lot of people outside this building might not think so, but we're on the same team. We want to see each other succeed. We're talking about looks, about 'hey, what do you think if this happens and where are you thinking about going with the football?' and stuff like that. We're on the same team off the field too."

That includes meetings, film sessions and everything else.

"Basically just feeding off of each other," Barker said. "We're two football-minded people so usually when you get in a room with another football-minded person you just bounce ideas off each other."