Kentucky Football: Wildcats Make the Right Choice to Start Maxwell Smith at QB

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterAugust 21, 2012

Kentucky QB Maxwell Smith
Kentucky QB Maxwell SmithKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After a heated battle during fall camp, Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips named his quarterback on Monday—and it was the right choice.

Maxwell Smith, a sophomore that started three games and played in eight for the Wildcats in 2011, beat out senior Morgan Newton for the top spot on the depth chart, the university announced.

"Both of them have great knowledge of our offense," Phillips said. "I think consistency and who can get the ball into the end zone and who can continue to lead this offense. Max Smith, we feel, gives us the best chance to win at this point and he will be our starting quarterback versus Louisville."

It's a good move for Kentucky.

Smith showed promise towards the end of last season, completing 77-of-134 passes (57.4%) in his last four games, including four touchdowns and two interceptions. In his first start against a very good Mississippi State secondary, he completed 26-of-33 passes (78.8%).

Not great, but certainly something to build off.

That's why this is a good move for the Wildcats.

Smith got the first-team snaps this spring with Newton recovering from an injury, and he responded well. The sophomore completed 29-of-45 passes for 353 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in Kentucky's spring game.

For perspective, Smith accounted for roughly 22 percent of Kentucky's entire passing offense from 2011 in the 2012 spring game.

That'll work.

He proved to be the more effective passer during practice, and the fact that he's a sophomore and Newton is a senior made the choice an easy one for Phillips.