Teddy Bridgewater won't be the only sophomore quarterback on the field when Louisville faces Kentucky on Sept. 2, as Joker Phillips named Maxwell Smith as his opening day QB1 on Monday.
Smith beat out senior Morgan Newton, who started Kentucky's first eight games last season before suffering a shoulder injury during a loss to Mississippi State on Oct. 29. Smith then started the Wildcats' next three games before giving way to Matt Roark in the season finale against Tennessee. In all, Smith appeared in eight games during his freshman season, completing 84 of 153 passes for 819 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions.
The writing seemed to be on the wall for Newton, who hasn't been able to live up to the expectations he created for himself after guiding UK to wins over Auburn and Georgia as a freshman in 2009.
"At least people will start liking me again," Newton joked about his demotion.
As for the book on Smith, his toughness was on full display last season when he was being knocked around by the likes of LSU and Georgia. He also displayed a decent arm, but struggled mightily to make the correct reads when pressured. Much of that can and should be attributed to the fact that he was essentially tossed into the fire without a great deal of prep time, so it should go without saying that by Sept. 2 he should be light years ahead of where he was a season ago in terms of the mental side of the game.
Smith recently gave fans a Being John Malkovich-esque look at his life when he sported a helmet cam during practice.
C'mon, Ronnie. Geeez.
I doubt Louisville's game preparation will be altered at all, as this really isn't news that was unexpected. And even if Newton had been named the starter for the game, I don't think Strong and company would have had to have adjusted a great deal.