Lexington Ky. (WKYT) - UK coach Joker Phillips named sophomore Max Smith his starting quarterback as practice ended Monday. Phillips said it was a difficult decision that was made Sunday night.
Smith replaced Morgan Newton as the Cat's starter in 2011 after Newton went down with an injury. The California native came out of spring practice as Kentucky's number one quarterback but going into fall camp Phillips said the position was open. "It wasn't obvious, it was tough. again a lot of factors are involved. I think Max had the upper hand getting all those reps in the spring too, that had a lot to do with it. You saw him getting more comfortable with every snap he got and you could see a little bit more of it in this fall camp and we just felt like he's the guy who gives us the best chance to win."
Smith said he learned of the decision this morning, "I felt good ya know I felt great, ya know that's what I've been working for since I was a little kid, to get a job starting with an SEC team. It might not have been SEC at the time, ya know, I'm a west coast guy, it might have been PAC-10 at the time but I'm glad to be where I am and looking forward to having a really good season."
Newton, who is now a senior, is coming off a shoulder injury, he said he respected the coaches decision, "It didn't surprise me, the writing was kind of on the wall. It was made prior to today and also leading up to today so it didn't surprise me. But I'm just trying to get myself ready if the team needs me."