Troy quarterback battle still ongoing after competitive spring

Published 8:15 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Troy Trojans entered the spring with a competition for the starting quarterback spot. With T-Day in the rearview mirror, Trojan head coach Neal Brown isn’t ready to name the starter.

Kaleb Barker came into the spring as the more experienced quarterback as Sawyer Smith redshirted last season. During the T-Day game on Saturday, both quarterbacks had ample opportunities to show what they were made of.

Both quarterbacks threw a touchdown, but Smith added an interception.

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I thought there was some really good things today. I thought both quarterbacks had some high points and some low points, it’s really evident that we have a lot of work to do between now and when Boise comes here,” Brown said. “I feel confident that either Kaleb Barker or Sawyer Smith is capable to lead us and put us in a position to win a conference championship.”

Barker believes Saturday was a perfect way to cap off a good spring.

“I thought it was a blast to get out in this venue in front of all these people,” Barker said. “It’s not hard to get up for something like this. I think overall I have improved a lot. I still have a ways to go, but I think we can get it done for the fall.”

The defense has garnered most of the excitement this spring. Smith believes the Trojan offense has taken good strides this spring.

“Overall, I thought we did pretty good,” Smith said. “As an offense, I believe we improved every day. As a whole I think everybody got better. We still have a lot of work to do as coach Brown says. I think we are looking good heading into the summer and fall camp.”

Injuries have played a role this spring for everybody including the two quarterbacks. Both Smith and Barker have been two of the few main stays to see action this spring, but both of them believe they could use it to their benefit.

“It doesn’t really matter who is out there you just have to worry about what you are doing, doing the little things right.” Smith said. “As long as you do that, football pays off in the end.”

“It’s been a rough time,” Barker said. “I think it’s been a good opportunity for me to really trust my reads and do what I am supposed to do regardless of the guys around me; just going to the right places, making the right reads and making the throws that I need to.”

Now with spring practice over, Barker will use the time between now and fall camp to build up his strength and speed.

“(I want) to put on a little more weight and continue to get faster,” Barker said. “The main thing I want to work on is my timing with my receivers with just the short little routes, trusting that there are where they are supposed to be and timing everything up so my throws and routes are on point.”

As for the battle between the two quarterbacks, Brown is not surprised that the two quarterbacks were going to compete and that it was going to be a tight battle.

“They are both competitors and both are really good,” Brown said. “They are both really good runners and they are both really competitive kids. They have done everything we have asked them to do. I knew it was going to be an intriguing and close battle.”