Here are three quick-hitters:
• Quarterback Questions – What to make of the Cats' quarterback situation? Two weeks into spring, the staff insists that there is still a legitimate four-man competition between Jalen Whitlow, Reese Phillips, Patrick Towles and Drew Barker. (Maxwell Smith could make it five by the time his shoulder heals for fall camp.) According to a few of our sources who have been able to watch multiple practices, the coaches are shooting straight when they say all the quarterbacks are showing improvement over last season, but it's also telling that none of them have jumped into the pole position. Stoops and offensive coordinator Neal Brown both want somebody to step forward and take ownership of the position before they're willing to make the call on the No. 1 and No. 2 guys. Those who watched Saturday's second scrimmage say that Barker, a freshman who otherwise would still be at Conner High School right now if not for early enrollment, tore it up. Among his highlights on the day was a 45-yard touchdown strike. Phillips was reportedly second in the scrimmage, but Whitlow had been the leader most of the previous seven workouts. Towles has reportedly made great strides, but may still need to make up ground before he's a serious contender. It will be interesting to see if the staff starts giving two guys the majority of the reps moving forward.
• Who's Mike? – The Cats have monumentally big shows to fill at the middle linebacker position, commonly referred to as the ‘Mike' in coach lingo, with the departure of Avery Williamson and his 102 tackles made last season. Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot has been trying a little bit of everything this spring to see if a suitable replacement is already on the roster. Latley, it appears like that could be junior Josh Forrest, an intriguing choice who has bounced around as a receiver, safety and outside linebacker during his time at UK. The staff likes how the unit gets much more athletic when he's on the field, but can he hold up in the run game and be a player who makes the all the necessary checks and calls for the rest of the defense? Remains to be seen. Tyler Brause is a senior with a wealth of experience, but doesn't feature the agility the Cats would like there. Khalid Henderson and Miles Simpson have also cross-trained in the middle, and early enrollee Dorian Hendrix is in the mix. This position battle may have to wait until summer when junior college transfer Ryan Flannigan makes his way from Blinn College to Lexington.