It's been a rocky road for Drew Barker to say the least thus far into his college career.
The former four-star QB out of Conner has had off-field issues, three new offensive coordinators and been planted on the bench for most of his first two years in Lexington. Even when he did make it onto the field last year, his play was just as rocky as he looked like star in the making one series, then looked like a high school freshman the next.
To be fair, the entire offense last season was bad to say the least no thanks to
the second coming of Billy Gillispie Shannon Dawson in his one-year debacle. The good news for Barker and the entire offense is Eddie Gran is now calling the shots and has far more experience of doing so in college, not to mention having previously coached in the SEC.
On Thursday, Barker talked about his new offense, coaching staff and personnel in general.
On spring football
"It's going good. Coach (Eddie) Gran, Coach (Darin) Hinshaw, I really like them, really like working with them. They're really good guys. Really good additions, as well as Coach (Lamar) Thomas. I feel like they've definitely brought a sense of urgency.
"Kind of like, you got to do things right to get one the field. Running after the ball, after plays, everything. They're really big on that. So just working really hard and I think it's really good for the team and it's building a pretty good culture, I think. So far so good."
On how different offense is now
"It is pretty different, just because we've had two Air-Raid coaches the past two years. This is more like a pro-style kind of offense. We're still in shotgun and stuff, but it's more of a pro-style, more like pro concepts, pro terminology. It definitely is different. It's a lot more than what we've had in the past, but I think it's really good and it's really looking good so far."
On his new responsibilities
"They're asking us to do more. Last year, we kind of had to relay the play to the wide receivers. We're not really doing that. We're all getting the play from the sideline. But we have to call the protections for the O-Line. Last year they were kind of doing that. Yeah, it is different kind of different from that standpoint, but not too much."
On if offense has been hard or easy to pick up
"I've just been putting in a lot of time in the film room and stuff, staying after, learning as much as I can. We have five installs. In the past, I think we've had three. We've got that much more stuff, so you really got to just go in and study your playbook and watch film. I've just been trying to do that as much as I can and I feel like it's paying off so far."
On losing his starting left tackle and who steps up there
"We definitely did lose (Jordan) Swindle. That was kind of a big loss because he had a lot of experience and stuff, but I feel like right now, everybody that's back played last year so they've all had experience. Even Cole (Mosier) had some experience at left tackle last year. He's had experience at that position.
"But the offensive line's looking really good. I feel like the protections that Coach Gran and Coach Hinshaw brought in here, they're really good and it's a really good scheme. They're blocking pretty good. Today we had a pretty good day of practice, so they're definitely looking good."
On Kyle Meadows
"Meadows is definitely doing really good. He's become more of a vocal leader, kind of showing the younger guys the ropes. He's got that experience under his belt, so he's really taking that vocal leadership role and I feel like he's really doing good."
On new faces in the QB room
"Yeah, it is pretty cool. Davis (Mattingly) and I are the only two back from last year, so it is kind of cool to get those new guys in. Obviously we had good friendships with Reese (Phillips) and Patrick (Towles), but the new guys have definitely been a great addition. They're really good guys. I like all of them.
"We all hang out. It was pretty weird that Patrick and Reese are gone but it's pretty cool that we brought some good guys in, too."
On if he feels like other QBs are pushing him
"Yeah. They're all good quarterbacks. Love watching 'em, learning from 'em, get mental reps every time they're in. Yeah, I definitely respect all of them, for sure."
On going back to the basics
"Coach Hinshaw has definitely brought in a lot of new things from a footwork perspective. We're really working hard, busting our butt to get those down. I think it's helping a lot. We can already see some improvements. It is kind of hard going back to the basics, in a way, but I really think it's gonna pay off in the end."
On if he was surprised to hear they were incorrectly taught before
"I think every coach is going to have different viewpoints. He's definitely brought in new stuff that I think is going to help, but if you went to 10 different coaches they might all have 10 different things that they could say. The things that he's brought in have really helped me and all the other quarterbacks."
On if he feels like starting QB job is his to lose
"I'm just going out every day like I'm the starter. I'm pretty sure everybody else is. That's what you have to do. Last year when I was second string, I was practicing every day like I was the starter. That's just something you have to do if you're the ones, twos or threes.
"I've just been treating it every day like I'm the starter."