Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops talks with offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson during the Kentucky football scrimmage on Saturday, April 11, 2015.CHICAGO – While Mark Stoops was in the Windy City on Thursday to celebrate Bud Dupree becoming his first player at the University of Kentucky picked in the first round of the NFL Draft, the Wildcats’ coach also took some time to look ahead to his third season in Lexington this fall.The biggest unanswered question – at least publicly – coming out of spring practice is who’ll be the starting quarterback in 2015. Junior Patrick Towles, who started every game last season, or redshirt freshman and fellow former four-star recruit Drew Barker? “We talked to both quarterbacks after the spring, and (coordinator Shannon) Dawson and I talked, and there’s really not a reason to say who’s the starter at this point,” Stoops told The Courier-Journal at the draft. “They’re both good players, they’re both competing, they’re both going to continue to compete throughout the summer.” Dupree’s draft-night frustration becomes elationThe coach acknowledged during spring practice that there is some value in sending the team into voluntary summer workouts knowing who their leader is. So is that a concern now? “There’s not an issue with the leadership role,” Stoops said before giving what sounds like a fairly big hint about where things stand. “Patrick played a whole season and has the experience and does a great job managing our team and setting up activities and throwing sessions and things like that, so it’s really a non-issue at this point.”OK, so do the two quarterbacks know who exited spring ball – where Towles outshined Barker in the final open scrimmage – as the leader for the job? “They know what our evaluation of them was after the spring and where it’s at,” Stoops said.And the rest of the team? “They know where we left it in spring.” Clear as mud. What Stoops can say for sure, though, is that after his third spring coaching the Cats, he’s more confident than ever about the direction of the program. Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 0:00Loaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%0:00 Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1ChaptersChaptersdescriptions off, selectedDescriptionssubtitles off, selectedSubtitlescaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedCaptionsAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window. The Video Cloud video was not found. Error Code: VIDEO_CLOUD_ERR_VIDEO_NOT_FOUND Session ID: 2020-09-19:ef30b6469ec2b03fd39fd42c Player ID: videojs-brightcove-player-539388-4207047498001 OK Close Modal DialogCaption Settings DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsDefaultsDoneClose Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.“I feel much better,” said the jet-setting coach who after the draft in Chicago planned to hit Las Vegas for the mega fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. “I feel like our players mentally understand what it takes. We’re closer to being where we need to be. I don’t think we’ve arrived yet – mentally or physically – but I think we are more consistent in our approach when we walk in the building, whether it’s a weight-training session, a running session or a practice.“I think our mental toughness is much closer to where it needs to be.” That’s not to say there aren’t still holes to fill. Heading into offseason workouts and then preseason camp, Stoops knows the Wildcats have one area that still needs significant improvement. “We have to continue to play better in the secondary,” he said. “I think with the way offenses make you defend nowadays, you can’t help but be on some islands, and you have to have some difference-makers that can make some plays. I think we’ve recruited some great corners, some corners with some size, and we need that.” The Cats have four defensive backs coming in the fall, including 6-foot Marcus Walker, 6-2 Derrick Baity and 6-4 Chris Westry. They also have 5-11 Kei Beckham, an Ohio native who had scholarship offers from Louisville and several Big Ten programs. “You’ve heard me talk about it for a couple years – and it doesn’t happen overnight – we were not physical enough at the skill positions,” Stoops said. “I think we’re getting closer to that at wide receiver. We have some great size and stronger guys. And I think in the secondary, we’re getting really good up the middle with some nickels, dimes, safeties, but we need to continue to get better outside at the corner position. “Again, we’ve recruited some great size, so I’d like those guys to be the players that I think they are.”Yeah, but who’s your starting quarterback? Kyle Tucker can be reached at (502) 582-4361. Follow him on Twitter @KyleTucker_CJ.