Barker back to full speed

Published 6:27 pm Friday, August 2, 2019

When the Troy Trojans returned to the practice field on Friday morning, one player in particular enjoyed it more than most.

Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker jumps back into fall camp 100 percent after suffering a knee injury last season. After being limited during spring practice, Barker was a full participant on Friday morning.

“I think for my first time out I was a little rusty, but I think that is to be expected,” Barker said. “I felt like it was a good overall. We have a long way to go. It’s the beginning of camp and It’s a grind. I feel good about where we are at.”

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Barker was held out of team drills during spring practice. On Friday, he was a participant in every drill while sporting a knee brace.

“When you first get it it’s kind of uncomfortable, but when you break it in it’s hard to tell that it’s there,” Barker said.

Barker completed 73 percent of his passes before the injury last season, the highest in school history. He threw for over 1,000 yards and had 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Despite coming off an injury, Barker wasn’t worried or nervous to get back to his team for practice.

“I had nerves my freshman year when I got here because of the speed of the game,” Barker said. “More so I’m talking to the younger guys about their nerves; it can be overwhelming, but my nerves are fine and I feel great.”

After battling it out with former Sawyer Smith for the starting job last year, Barker enters this year as starting quarterback.

“I think Kaleb is a very talented guy,” Lindsey said. “I think he feels like it’s his time. I think he is a confident guy and the team is confident in him. We just need him to make as much improvement as he can before we get to game one. We are a different system, same family, but there are some calls and a lot of responsibility on the quarterback. I think he has to take the time to sort through all of that.”

Barker will be joined in the quarterback room by Gunnar Watson, Gavin Screws and Jacob Free. Lindsey expects the quarterbacks to be leaders on the field.

“It can be overwhelming for them coming in,” Barker said. “Jacob Free is coming from a different program, so he still needs to learn the offense. I think they are doing well. You can really expect them to come out and perfect an offense on day one. They are going to progress and they are going to be in good shape.”