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Mark Stoops notes 'big changes' in Drew Barker; Will play Stephen Johnson

Mark Stoops continues to praise Drew Barker, but he also wants to get Stephen Johnson on the field this fall.

Jason Marcum

The Kentucky Wildcats won't have a QB battle this summer, but that doesn't mean the top two guys won't be playing this fall.

During Mark Stoops' appearance on the SEC spring teleconference, the UK head coach continued his praise of starting QB Drew Barker, who was named the starter after the spring game.

"I’ve seen a big change in Drew and I want to continue to see that," Stoops said. "This is one semester. He needs to have a great summer; he needs to be a great leader in organizing all voluntary workouts and throwing with receivers and running backs and tight ends.

"But I have seen a change. I’ve seen a maturity in him. I’ve seen him much more composed on and off the field. I see a guy who’s very hungry to learn and just settle in and continue to grow."

However, junior college QB Stephen Johnson had a very good spring after joining UK in January, enough so that Stoops is planning to play both QBs this fall.

"We certainly have a lot of confidence in Stephen, and I think he did a very good job and was very impressive," Stoops said. "Stephen will have a role, and he’ll continue to compete. Stephen knows exactly where he stands when he came into our program and he knows exactly where he stands now."

While both guys are agile enough to pick up big yards on the ground, Johnson has more speed to his game and could be a nice Wildcat QB option in certain packages. You don't want to call too many running plays for your starting QB, especially in the punishing SEC, but having Johnson do it some as the backup can be a nice change-of-pace that may be needed to penetrate stout defenses like Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida will feature.