(photo credit Jacob Noger, UK Football)
By Dr. John Huang
You can never have enough quarterbacks. That must be the mindset of the Kentucky coaching staff as they learned Wednesday that Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood had been granted that long-awaited waiver from the both the NCAA and the SEC. That means the 6’4” 221-pound sophomore is eligible to play immediately for the Wildcats.
Although he’s eligible, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll see action on the field on Saturday, does it? Just a few minutes ago, we asked Coach Mark Stoops in his final media conference before the Ole Miss game about his plans moving forward for utilizing Gatewood.
Is Joey Gonna Play?
“We will see,” Stoops answered. “Beau [Allen] has gotten the majority of the backup reps the past two weeks. Joey has still practiced and obviously has been running plays all camp and can step in. We’ll see. Just like any other position, we don’t really talk about the backups at any other spot. We’ll see how it goes. Terry is our starter. I’m excited about Terry. I know he’ll continue to improve. He always has with reps and through the season. He did some really good things in the opener, and we expect him to build on that just like the rest of our team.”
You didn’t really expect Coach to give us an answer, did you?
Here’s what I think that really means. Terry Wilson has earned the right to be Kentucky’s starting quarterback. Until proven otherwise, Gatewood’s role will be primarily as his backup. Sure, he’ll be given a few snaps as a “change of pace” back to keep opposing defenses off balance for a play or two. He might even be brought in on goal line situations to utilize his exceptional size and speed. But for the most part, this’ll be a year in which Wilson will continue to be given the keys to the Cadillac while Gatewood and Allen ride along in the back seat.
Stoops is a loyalty kind of guy. There’ll be no quarterback controversy for this team. Especially not this Saturday. Unless the game gets way out of hand either way—or God forbid, there’s an injury—don’t look for Gatewood to get any significant minutes anytime soon.