Not a big surprise to see Adam Froman named the starting quarterback this morning. It is a bit of a surprise to see Strong make the announcement via Twitter. Regardless, when Froman showed up on the schedule posters and media guide, he figured to be the safe bet.
And safe is the operative word. Froman, of the three primary candidates Strong had to work with, probably has the best mix of leadership and physical ability. But it’s extremely close. I still say Will Stein has an intangible that neither of the other two has shown, but his size is a concern (not for me, but for most coaches). Burke made some great throws last season, but also made some big mistakes.
And avoiding mistakes will be Job No. 1 for quarterbacks on both sides in the season opener between UK and U of L.
I’d expect to see Joker Phillips make the safe choice as well — and name Mike Hartline as the starter for the U of L game. If Phillips chooses otherwise and does not win, in addition to the heat that would rain down on him for losing the game would be the heat he would catch over leaving a QB who is 2-0 against Louisville on the bench.
I don’t expect either side to win the game with its quarterback play. But one of the sides surely could lose it from the QB spot.
Both coaches have taken their time looking at their quarterback candidates. Both were expected to have starters named much sooner, which indicated to me that they were at least toying with the idea of making an unconventional choice.
Strong went with his most experienced, proven performer. Phillips has a choice between two guys who have won games in the SEC, but he also has more of a contrast in styles to choose from. While Mike Hartline has beaten U of L twice, Morgan Newton may be able to hurt U of L more with his running — an area where the Cardinals may be more vulnerable. Let the chess match continue. It’s Phillips’ move.