The season-ending injury to Terry Wilson has become more problematic than once thought.
Wilson’s loss would be felt, but Kentucky fans thought Sawyer Smith would be up to the task after leading Troy to a bowl game win in a similar scenario. After a quality performance against Florida, though, it’s been all downhill for the redshirt junior.
The Wildcats now sit with a losing record, but a chance at the postseason is still within reach if Kentucky’s QB play can improve.
With that in mind, Mark Stoops has some big decisions to make.
The easy decision would be to let Smith ride it out. In the close loss to Florida, he played extremely well in a debut where it felt like he was still figuring it out for himself as he went.
Smith threw 3 interceptions, but one was a hail mary, and the other was a miscommunication with his receiver. He otherwise did his part with 267 yards and two touchdowns to go along with a 65.7% completion percentage.
Since then, though, it’s been rough. It may have to do with his health, but Smith has not looked against Mississippi State or South Carolina. In the two road losses, Smith threw for only 322 yards, no touchdowns, and 2 interceptions on a dreadful 35.6% completion percentage. Stoops could try to get Smith healthy and let him keep the starting job following the bye week.
But is Smith going to be healthy enough to be effective vs. Arkansas, and even if he is, should UK still look for another option at QB?
The more intriguing option is letting Lynn Bowden Jr. take over the starting QB job. A Swiss army knife of a player, Bowden is Kentucky’s best receiver and likely their next best option at QB.
Bowden has completed thrown only four passes this season, but completed three of them. Bowden at QB is obviously more of a Wildcat offense, as his ability to make plays in the open field is dangerous.
With that said, he would likely have to lock in on the passing game at the point when defenses catch on to this. After rushing, receiving, and fielding both kick and punt returns for the Wildcats, it’d be a safe assumption that Stoops would at least look at the possibility of Bowden taking snaps as the starting QB.
After Smith and Bowden, quarterback options get thin. Sophomore Walker Wood looked like he would get into the South Carolina game at the end, but it was Bowden who led the final drive. Wood hasn’t seen any action yet, but he certainly has the resume to be given a shot at some point.
Wood was a three-star recruit coming out of high school and threw for 3,000+ yards and 30 touchdowns during his senior year. The final option would be freshman Amani Gilmore, who committed to Kentucky over Tennessee last September. Although he was a three-star prospect coming out of high school and is a dual-threat option like Wilson, Stoops may be hesitant to place a freshman out there at this point of his development, and with the schedule, the Wildcats have the rest of the way.
What do you think? Should Stoops keep Smith out there, let Bowden loose, or give a young player with potential like Woods or Gilmore a chance?
What should Kentucky do at QB?
This poll is closed
Roll with Sawyer Smith
Start Lynn Bowden Jr.
Start Walker Wood
Start Amani Gilmore