Redshirt junior Patrick Towles and redshirt freshmen Drew Barker are splitting time at the position with no clear leader yet emerging. Stoops understands how that may be perceived by some, but he doesn't agree.
"I know the old adage that if you have two you don't have any, but I don't believe that," Stoops said.
After Reese Phillips suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon this winter, Towles and Barker became the only healthy quarterbacks on campus for spring practice. The resulting battle, new offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson says, has been good for both.
"To me if you've got one guy playing really good and one guy not then it's not making anybody better," Dawson said. "I think that the key to those guys right now, and both of them go out and one day one of them might be a little better, the other day the new one might be a little better but they're pushing each other. So, that's the best part of it."
It's familiar territory for Towles and Barker, who both competed for the starting job in 2014. Towles would of course win out and show flashes of brilliance in leading UK to a five-win season, an improvement from a 2-10 mark in Stoops' first season.
Towles started all 12 games, completing 57.3 percent of his passes for 2,718 yards and 14 touchdowns and adding 303 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. His coaches have said his experience does give him a leg up, but by no means makes him a lock to beat out Barker. It's a challenge he embraces.
"I've been in a competition since I got here," Towles said. "I'm not new to this at all and I'm going to go out there and worry about me. I can't worry about what any other quarterback's doing. I can help when I feel like I can teach a little bit, but I'm worried about how I play and how the guys play when I'm in there."
Barker is doing the same.
The highly touted Burlington, Ky., native redshirted last season after Towles won the job, taking the year to adjust to college life. His adjustment has been marked by two off-field incidents that have been addressed and addressed again by his coaches.
"He's a good kid that made some mistakes, and he's got to go out there and be consistent on the field and off the field," Stoops said. "He knows that. I like him, but what I like about him right now: He's just going about his business, trying to be the best quarterback he can be, take care of himself off the field. So far so good."
That doesn't mean every day is perfect.
"There's good and bad and there is every day," Stoops said after UK's 11th practice of the spring on Wednesday. "There's days when one or the other does separate himself, but not consistently, not every day. As I said throughout the spring and I saw it again today, we're improving at that position. Both guys are improving."
Improving and taking hold of the job are two different things, though it seems unlikely a decision on a starter is forthcoming based on what Stoops and Dawson are saying.
"It doesn't matter to the point to where I'm going to sit here and I'm stressing about making a decision, because we don't play Saturday," Dawson said. "So that doesn't matter to mean. I mean I'm pleased with where both of them are at. Obviously both of them do some things that are bad at times, but those things are slowly getting less and less."
The Wildcats might not be playing this weekend, but they will hold an open scrimmage at noon on Saturday at Nutter Training Center. The scrimmage will give the staff a chance to evaluate Towles and Barker in a live setting, but it's by no means a be-all, end-all situation.
"It's important, but you're not going to win a job in one day," Towles said. "It's a whole body of work kind of thing and I feel confident about my body of work and I feel confident going forward."