All eyes have been on Drew Barker since camp started, as we all looked to see what kind of quarterback we'd have in Lexington this season. So far, Barker has done everything right, and everyone in the program has taken notice.
The coaching staff has been praising Barker ever since media day, where both Head Coach Mark Stoops and Offensive Coordinator Eddie Gran commented on him. Stoops of course talked about how calm Barker is and has been, but Gran's praise has gone beyond that.
Gran has been pleased with Barker's accuracy in camp, saying the "last two days he's been on target."
Quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw has praised Barker as well, saying "he's got a very, very good mind. He's really gotten into the playbook; he understands it. January to now, he's not mastered it, but he's getting to that point."
In response to Stoops' comments about him being calm and confident, Barker said "I've always been kind of a calm person. I haven't gotten too up or too down and I'm not really an emotional person. I can see that, but sometimes you have to kick it up into a different gear. That's something I have been working on for sure."
Barker was a backup up until the end of last season, so we didn't get to see much of how well he could do, but now that he's going through camp as the starter it seems that he is impressing, and according to both himself and Stoops he is staying level-headed.
With how pleased the staff has been with him, Gran is giving him more responsibility on the field. Barker discussed that responsibility, and how much he likes that.
"We're calling the protections at the line and I've never done that with any other coach. It's really cool and we're in control."
The coaching staff is high on him, praising him and giving him more responsibility as an on-field coach, but Barker is receiving strong vocal support from his teammates as well.
"Drew's looking like a 10-year vet out here, man," wide receiver Jeff Badet said. "He's just maturing. That's the difference I've seen with Drew. Off the field, he's more of a business guy. He's not playing around how he used to. He's just more of a leader right now."
If Barker did used to play around, it appears as though he has taken this leadership opportunity and run with it. Barker always wanted this chance, and now that he has it, he has no trouble taking over and directing the offense. And he's doing more than just directing them in organized practices, as he has also organized practices himself when the UK coaches couldn't be around. Wide receiver Dorian Baker said Barker's leadership was very helpful.
"When you get somebody pushing everybody to be the best they can be, that's when you know somebody is ready for that position."
Barker has received immense praise from everyone in the program, and has become the hottest topic in camp among the media, coaches and players. If Barker continues to impress, he'll continue to yield more discussion and praise.