Kentucky coach Joker Phillips, just hours after Louisville’s Charlie Strong named a starting quarterback, named his own when he tabbed Mike Hartline to start against the Cardinals in their opener on Sept. 4.
I think it’s the right choice. While Morgan Newton has the potential to be a bigger playmaker than Hartline, Kentucky as a team has more capable playmakers at the wideout and running back spots. Rather than creating offense on his own, the UK quarterback can perhaps do the most damage by getting it into the hands of Randall Cobb and the other wideouts, and making the right checks and calls to pave the way for Derrick Locke’s rushing success.
So Hartline, who isn’t hurt by his 2-0 record against U of L, makes sense.
Particularly in a road rivalry game in which UK will be favored, going with a seasoned hand would figure to be the safe call for Phillips.
Whether Hartline holds the job all season might be another story. Even Phillips acknowledged that when he said, “He gives us the best chance at this point in time. He might not in a couple of weeks, but he does now.”
So the starting QB suspense is over — for now.