Spring practice is usually the time when players who have been buried on the depth chart in previous years emerge to win position battles. But not all position battles are won outright, and with only 15 practices, it’s tough for any head or assistant coach to evaluate the right guy to lead their team, especially at quarterback.
Last season, Florida carried their quarterback battle on into the first game with Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett, while Alabama did the same thing two years ago with AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims.
There are multiple quarterback battles ongoing, but three could wage on through fall camp and even on into the season:
Players: Kiel Frazier vs. Jonathan Wallace
Don’t forget about: Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson
Buzz: Currently, only Kiel Frazier and Jonathan Wallace are battling it out for the starting job this spring. Frazier likely has the upper hand because of his background and the spread offense in high school. But don’t count out Jonathan Wallace. Neither Frazier nor Wallace may end up with the starting gig no matter how well this spring goes. Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson could be more talented than either, and Marshall comes with JUCO playing experience already. Gus Malzahn will score points, but the battle will wage on through fall came and likely into the beginning of the season of exactly who will lead the sexy hurry up, no huddle offense.
Players: Max Smith, Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles
Don’t forget about: Reese Phillips
Buzz: Kentucky’s starting quarterback will be one of Max Smith, Jalen Whitlow or Patrick Towles. Each provides a little something different to offer offensive coordinator Neal Brown. Smith is the best passer, while Whitlow can give the offense an edge as a runner. Towles could have the biggest upside of all three. The three are sharing snaps this spring in Kentucky’s new Air Raid offense, and it’s very likely all three will continue battling through fall camp to become the starter. Smith was in the same boat last season after battling Morgan Newton through fall camp before ultimately being tabbed to lead the offense.
Players: Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman
Don’t forget about: Josh Dobbs
Buzz: Butch Jones has two quarterbacks to get game-ready in returners Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman. Worley has the most game experience and is currently ahead of Peterman, but the redshirt freshman Peterman could be the better fit for the system. And yet neither could be the future, because it’s very plausible Josh Dobbs could walk in this summer and start halfway through next fall, depending on how well the offense is performing. Dobbs is the future of the Butch Jones era in Knoxville.
Photo Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports