Mark Stoops has never been one to reveal favorites or tip where the Kentucky football program may be leaning at quarterback during competitions in fall camp. The UK head coach has always operated with the mindset that the world will know the team’s starter when the Wildcats take the field to open the season.
That’s why Vince Marrow’s comments on the competition turned heads this week, as Stoops’ most trusted and valued assistant voluntarily revealed who he liked at quarterback.
“At quarterback, all three of them are doing good things but I’m liking Will (Levis),” Marrow said. “Will’s doing some pretty good stuff.”
“More consistent but making some big throws,” Marrow added. “Not saying the other two guys ain’t making good throws, but he’s making throws that, you know, I’m like, ‘Wow.’ And then you’ll turn around and Joey [Gatewood] would make a good throw but probably Will has been more consistent with the ball coming out and it’s looked pretty good. Not to say the other guys haven’t but Will has a feel for it and that scrimmage was pretty good.”
He added praise for Beau Allen, but finished – again – with love for Levis.
“I’ll tell you, I’ve also been impressed by Beau. Beau’s worked on himself and Beau’s been looking pretty good,” said Marrow. “This ain’t political stuff, this is what I see. You ain’t gonna get [political stuff] from me. But Beau is looking good but Will just seems to — really, that ball comes out from what I see.”
Asked about his thoughts on the quarterback competition after Saturday’s scrimmage, Stoops was quick to poke fun at Marrow for showing the program’s hand just a tad bit more than he’d like.
“All the quarterbacks did some good things today. You probably knew the answer before I said it,” Stoops joked. “You want me to get Coach Marrow back out here to talk to you guys? He’s not allowed back out here.”
In short, all of the quarterbacks are playing well and we won’t be hearing from Marrow for a while.
“All the quarterbacks are doing some good things. He’s on lockdown,” Stoops said with a laugh.
Coming in as Kentucky’s anticipated go-to receiver in 2021, Wan’Dale Robinson was asked about the quarterback competition and his thoughts on who he’d like to see throwing him the ball this fall. Taking a page out of the Stoops playbook, Robinson said he liked all three potential options.
“Will, obviously you guys saw that, it’s just a rocket. Joey, those deep balls, they just drop right in. Beau, he makes all the throws, does everything really well, too,” Robinson said. “All of them have their strengths and weaknesses, but I think all three of them do a really, really good job.”
When asked about a potential favorite, the standout receiver said his job is to catch footballs, not worry about who is throwing them. Whoever Stoops chooses to start under center, Robinson is confident he’ll be able to do his job.
“If the ball is thrown, that’s my job. I’ve got to go catch the football,” Robinson said. “You know who’s back there and know how it’s going to come out. Whenever the ball is in the air, at the end of the day, it’s your job to catch the football. It doesn’t matter how fast it’s coming or anything, it’s just one thing: catch it.”
Don’t expect to hear a starter named anytime soon, even if all signs are pointing toward Levis.