Are the Kentucky Wildcats turning to Lynn Bowden to solve their quarterback woes?
During his Monday call-in show, head coach Mark Stoops revealed that Bowden will be working at quarterback this week. Part of that is because Sawyer Smith is going to miss most, if not all of this week of practice as he recovers from wrist and shoulder injuries.
Stoops added that “everything is on the table” at quarterback and that Walker Wood will get a chance as well. But after seeing Wood not enter the game at all this season, it’s fair to think Bowden has the edge as the team’s starting signal-caller if they go with someone new vs. Arkansas in Week 7.
After second-year starter Terry Wilson went down on September 7th against Eastern Michigan, worries quickly began in regards to the team’s season. However, despite the Florida Gators bringing a top-10 team to Lexington, Smith had the Wildcats in the lead for most of the night. Kentucky’s lack of creativity on both sides of the ball cost them momentum and ultimately the game, which then led to consecutive losses at Mississippi State and South Carolina.
In the three games he started, Smith threw only four touchdowns to go with his five interceptions. He also completed just 46% of his passes and was sacked eight times. While Stoops said Smith was indeed playing through an injury at South Carolina, the former Troy quarterback wasn’t pulled from action in the 24-7 loss until Kentucky's final drive when Bowden went in and led UK to its only score of the night.
With Kentucky potentially on their third quarterback after just six games, it’s a true wonder what exactly the offense will look like next week. A bright aspect, though, is that Bowden has been in this offense for two and a half years now (which is more than any other quarterback on the team).
Though the “Wildcat” formation hasn’t worked many wonders for Kentucky (aside from the JoJo Kemp game in 2014), Bowden has been relatively efficient when taking the snap. He’s completed six of nine passes for 131 yards, which certainly proves he can move the ball through the air.
Bowden’s threat of running the ball will likely be a successful compliment to the passing game, as he’s rushed 34 times in his career for 161 yards. This season alone, he’s averaging a whopping 7.6 yards per carry.
While Bowden is extremely dynamic, we’ve seen first-hand with Smith that being inserted into a new offense (and with Bowden moving to a new position) can be difficult to overcome. However, Bowden’s talent could allow Kentucky to become relatively creative with their play-calling and should at least provide a spark to the entire offensive unit.