Historically, the Kentucky Wildcats really haven't had many problems deciding on which quarterback to go with at season's start. It is understandable why, with the likes of Tim Couch, Andre Woodson, and even Jared Lorenzen (the hefty lefty) as solid choices at quarterback.
This season the 'Cats have a tough decision to make. They have veteran Mike Hartline, who has been scrutinized—and the consensus is for good reason—in Lexington.
Over the three season's that Hartline has taken snaps for the Wildcats, he has only thrown for 2,502 yards and 15 touchdowns along with his abysmal 16 interceptions.
That doesn'tt sound like a quarterback you would like to have starting on Saturdays for your program. Granted, last season Hartline was plagued by injuries, but just how much more can you take of his failures?
Kentucky football seemed to have found a glimpse of hope last season after Hartline was sidelined and then-freshman Morgan Newton came to the rescue. The Wildcats immediately found some spark from their quarterback.
Newton led the Wildcats to impressive victories over Auburn and Georgia and instantly became a fan favorite. Watching him play is reminiscent of Steve McNair—a big body that has a cannon for an arm and is extremely hard to bring down.
Newton will come into this season looking to be the starting quarterback, and there is no reason why the job should not be his. He gained plenty of experience last season playing on the road at Georgia and Auburn.
He is a better overall talent than Mike Hartline and is a fundamentally better quarterback. Newton has great escapability, an attribute that Mike Hartline has not developed on the field.
It's time for a change of pace in Lexington. With the help of the Wildcat offense that will put the always dangerous Randall Cobb behind center at times, Morgan Newton should be a better fit calling the shots.
If Newton is successful, he is only a sophomore which would give him even more experience and could provide a future for the Kentucky football program.
There aren't many reasons why this Indiana product should not start for the 'Cats. It makes sense to start a senior over a sophomore, but not when the senior is as bad as Mike Hartline.
The season rests on the decision that Joker Phillips is going to have to make. The right decision is Morgan Newton, but only time will tell who will be behind center come week one of the college football season.