Maybe his role has changed now that a quarterback decision has been made, but Kentucky's Drew Barker said he's still doing everything he can to keep improving.
"It's pretty much the same: just preparing to play, just still competing," the red-shirt freshman quarterback said the day after it was announced that junior Patrick Towles was the starter.
"Obviously Pat got named the starter so I'm 100 percent in support of that. Anything I can do to help him out, any advice, whatever. But, yeah, I'm still going out there just trying to get better every day, just putting myself in a position if the opportunity arises that I can be prepared when it comes."
A day after Coach Mark Stoops called Barker's response to losing the starting job mature and "professional," the freshman sounded that way on Tuesday.
"It was going to be hard to beat out his experience obviously," Barker said of Towles. "He did a great job. He's been playing great. I have everything good to say really about him. He just had a great camp, and, you know, hard to beat him out."
The quarterback competition was good for all involved, Barker said. For the former Conner star, it was about developing some consistency.
"I learned that I can play at a higher level than I originally thought I could," he said. "In the spring and last fall, I had some good moments but I was also really inconsistent. That was my big thing, just working on consistency. So I learned I can be consistent at this high level in the SEC, so that was just really encouraging for me."
His maturity wasn't just on the football field either.
"I definitely felt I really got a lot better from my redshirt year to this year maturing on and off the field," Barker said. "I feel like I was making a lot smarter decisions on the field and off the field."
Barker is still getting plenty of reps in practice and he will be ready if and when he's called on this season.
"I've always told backup quarterbacks that they need to prepare as if they're starting, because he's one snap away from being it," UK offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. "So I'm gonna prepare them the same. And so he needs to prepare week to week just like he's the guy."
Boom on the mend
Running back Boom Williams was able to practice on Tuesday in a limited role after a scare last week where he injured his knee in practice.
The injury, which he said happened when he got stuck in the wrong spot and twisted his knee, frightened the sophomore at first.
"I'd never had a knee injury before, so it was a scare at one point," the sophomore said on Tuesday. "I just trusted it and our training staff and the coaches are doing the best thing for me right now going day to day. I'll be back here soon full tilt ready to go."
Wide receiver Ryan Timmons had a walking boot on his left leg to start practice before shedding the boot and getting on the stationary bike for an extended period of time. Of Timmons, wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord said: "He'll be fine. He's been going and will be soon. Not worried about that at all." ... Offensive lineman Kyle Meadows, who has been battling migraine issues, was not at practice (that I could see) and true freshman George Asafo-Adjei is still running with the first team in Meadows' place. ... Linebacker Ryan Flannigan, who hurt his shoulder recently, was not in pads and did not practice, but he no longer was wearing the sling.