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Possible scenario: 3 years of eligibility for 3 quarterbacks

Kentucky had a quarterback plan when the first game against Louisville kicked off this season. Sophomore Maxwell Smith was the clear cut starter, Jalen Whitlow and Morgan Newton were the back-ups the coaching staff intended to use in case of injury, and Patrick Towles was lined up to redshirt his freshman season as the fourth quarterback on the depth chart. At the end of the season, had everything gone according to plan, Max Smith would have 2 years of eligibility remaining and Patrick Towles would still have all 4 years still available. The plan went awry quickly as a season plagued with injuries began to unfold with each passing week. First it was Max Smith’s season-ending ankle injury. Morgan Newton was then given the keys to the offense against Florida in the Swamp. We all remember how that turned out. Before the move was officially made, it was obvious that Morgan Newton as a quarterback in the SEC was not going to be a good fit, and certainly wasn’t going to be the answer moving forward. Jalen Whitlow stepped in, and to his credit, showed signs that he could work through the kinks and newness of the situation as a freshman and still be a formidable quarterback for Kentucky. Without Smith and with the realization that Newton was not going to be a good option, the coaching staff turned to Patrick Towles as an option as well.

The coaching staff made the decision to implement both young quarterbacks into the offensive scheme for Kentucky. Even if they hadn’t decided to use Towles as more than just an “emergency back-up option,” he was going to have to step up in the event that Whitlow– a mobile quarterback who takes some hits with the way he plays– went down or had to miss a series.

Even with the injuries piling up, the use of Patrick Towles and his medical clearance following the injury solidified the burning of his redshirt season.

Without knowing how the coaching situation will be sorted out at the end of the season, this much is certain: whoever is the coach of next year’s team will have an interesting quarterback situation facing them. Assuming Max Smith receives a medical-hardship redshirt, Smith, Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles will all enter the spring season with 3 years of eligibility remaining. All three have significant upside and have at the very least, showed signs that they can be the answer moving forward for the future of this program. Max Smith has the most experience, and seems to fit the more traditional quarterback mold. Smith was also moving the offense very well before he was injured. Jalen Whitlow is not as conventional as Max Smith, but continues to gain experience and will likely enter the off-season as the quarterback who started the most games for Kentucky this season, playing the most minutes and taking the most snaps. Patrick Towles, who by all accounts was behind both Whitlow and Smith all season long on the depth chart, has long been considered the “future” of this Kentucky program following a successful high school career, especially among a portion of the fan base. Towles is the kind of young quarterback that a new coach might look at and say to himself, “Whatever I’m going to do here, he’s going to be what I hang my hat on.” The problem is, all three could be the answer when it comes to what next year’s coach (whether it’s Joker Phillips or not) wants to hang their hat on moving forward.

All three guys appear to be in the position to have 3 years of eligibility left. All three bring something different to the table, yet all want to be the quarterback for this program for the next 3 years. That’s quite the build up of talent, who all might essentially be in the same class with 3 years remaining.

Which quarterback do you think has the advantage heading into next season? Or is it a 3-way quarterback competition? Is there any way all 3 stay at Kentucky?

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

65 Comments for Possible scenario: 3 years of eligibility for 3 quarterbacks

  1. UnknownFan
    11:33 am October 28, 2012 Permalink

    WHO CARES?????? Good gawd,give it up already!!

  2. Cowboy
    11:36 am October 28, 2012 Permalink

    @ 1. Did you not get any last night or something? Nothing made you read it…

  3. Kristen Geil
    11:39 am October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Nice post Ally, I hadn’t thought of this before!

  4. niaps
    11:40 am October 28, 2012 Permalink

    I agree “who cares”. Just a testament to a horrible coaching staff. Fire the joke and his whole crew.

  5. jarshoe
    11:43 am October 28, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve been willing to give Joker the benefit of the doubt due to the injuries and extreme youth of the team. However, putting Towles in yesterday and eliminating the option to apply for a medical redshirt is the last straw for me. Escpecially considering the way Whitlow was moving the offense. Joker should simply should not be allowed to walk the sideline for another game at UK.

  6. Tom Jackson
    11:46 am October 28, 2012 Permalink

    You know what football experts always say: when you have 2 QBs, you really have 0 QBs. When you have 3, then you’re going to be 0-fer in the SEC and getting a new coach the next season.

  7. BBN
    11:46 am October 28, 2012 Permalink

    This is a good post for disscusion. I would not have played PT and burn up his year. Whit will end up being a reciever.

  8. Head Bussa
    11:46 am October 28, 2012 Permalink

    If I was any of them I would transfer to a place I could surely play and, more than likely, have more success as a team.
    In all seriousness though, I don’t know if you can determine who should play first and foremost based on them playing in Sanders’ offense. You just can’t get a good handle on their abilities, skills, positives, and negatives when they are playing for a team that is obviously not well-coached and does not position the kids for any type of success. If UK can get a decent coach in there I will happily and fully trust him on who he decides should play and who should not. Most coaches have a good handle on evaluating skill and talent, but I really feel this staff is not very good at judging who is best.

  9. kybigblue
    11:54 am October 28, 2012 Permalink

    The last time we had two highly touted QB’s coming in fighting to be a starter when the decision was made the non-starter transferred and the other one is no longer at QB. Hopefully we can get at least one good QB out of the three.

  10. Mike
    12:03 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Max Smith is our QB. He was playing great before he got injured. He knows the playbook and he gives us more options than Whitlow.

  11. bsquared
    12:03 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Max Smith was on pace to throw 4000+ yds this season if he didnt get hurt…he had right under 1000 by the 3rd game

  12. Ben
    12:05 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t think Whitlow’s future is at QB. I could see him moving to WR in the off-season. I would like to see Patrick be the starter next season. I think he has more upside than Max Smith.

  13. Jokersajoke
    12:07 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Did you just figure this out? Joker has butchered the QB situation. Expect Towles to transfer as a result. Every team in the SEC deals with injuries. It’s not unique to UK. We use our youth as an excuse. Next year we’ll have the same results with seasoned 2 & 3 star players if Joker is the head coach. We’ll win one more game if we’re lucky. Joker has ruined our program and should show some class and resign immediately.

  14. barn
    12:11 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    this is a moot point. i doubt all 3 of these guys will return next year, especially if joker is retained

  15. RYNO
    12:14 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Quit saying Towles’ redshirt was burned today. Do some research please and quit stealing discussions from CatsIllustrated. If the doctor clears him, he can’t take a medical redshirt. This is just lazy writing. This site is going way downhill. Drew Franklin is really the only talented one left.

  16. Joker blows
    12:16 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    The NEW coach will actually have 2 QBs with 3 yr eligibility left. Witlow will be moved to new spot TE, WR, slot, or wildcat. Joker has bad a bad program very very bad. The good news now is that big blue nation gets to look forward to getting a new coach with a new staff!!! I’m finally excited about getting this season done , canning joker n company, and getting a new coach!
    Big blue nation, hang in there a new coach is coming… Barnyard is gonna have to get a coach with some PROVEN capabilities…. No more bringing in cheap labor! Buy a damn coach that can turn this thing around for a very deserving fan base!

  17. thats budda
    12:16 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Towles needs to have some serious practice time with the first team. He hasn’t had any. Whitlow will end up being a receiver. He was told he would have a chance at QB, but was recruited as an athlete. He shared time in high school. Towles and Smith should battle it out in the spring.

  18. Joker in waiting
    12:21 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Did you not watch yesterday’s game?????
    What in the world.
    How about next years freshman QB. He deserves a chance.
    Who cares!

  19. Catfan8
    12:31 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Why are we still talking about football and scenarios???!!!! Who gives a flip about this football team?? I would be so happy if KSR would completely stop writing about football all together. I, with I bet 95% of ppl that read this site find ourselves scrolling on down the page to the BASKETBALL stories. Seriously, I don’t think it’s humanly possible for me to care less about our football team. Do yourself a favor KSR…. Just keep us informed about basketball because let’s all face it, that all anybody in this state cares about.

    Ps…. Mitch, plz get rid of joker.!!!! Plllllllllllllllllzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  20. FakeRealDrPhilStihl
    12:32 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky Football fans need a purpose, if we don’t change the approach, the effort is wasted and a year from now we will all be arguing again.

  21. Footballcat65
    12:33 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    As soon as Towles was medically cleared his redshirt was burned. Good lord do some research!

  22. Tigercat
    12:38 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    It should be Smith. He proved himself. Whitlow can’t throw. Towles plays and acts with a sense of entitlement. He has to earn it, not have it given to him.
    Let the new coaches decide. As I said earlier this year and was criticized, yesterday was another stop on the Joker farewell tour. No matter what spin he puts on it, he recruited this team. I still don’t know wht there was a difficult QB decision in August. Who were they watching? No comparison between Smith and Newton. Whatevr happened to the QB we ran off for Newton? Remember he was promised PT in the Bowl game and never got it/

  23. harry
    12:46 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    pending any majore injuries, options are good. Remember these freshmen qbs have to develop and enhance their decision making and timming. Offensive line plays a large part in this development as well.

  24. markp
    12:47 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Move Whitlow to receiver. Use him as a wildcat option occasionally and let Smith and Towles battle it out. But Towles should have been redshirted this year.

  25. rasky262
    12:53 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Missed the show on Friday. What happened to the podcast? Did I miss it somewhere?

  26. Jman
    12:55 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    WHO CARES! Kentucky football sucks. We have always sucked except for Couch and Cobb so just quit talking about it. We are a basketball school. We should be focused on our time for 9, not another dismal football season. Lets move on and focus on what counts- BASKETBALL.

  27. UKfan
    12:56 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Sorry, PT should have remained on RS this year and the staff should have played Whitlow and had Morgan as the backup. Only if one of those two go down with an injury do you burn his R.S.
    The next coach will come in and install his system and let the 3 battle it out, with the possibilities that Whitlow moves positions. Max Smith looked good in the pro set, but not so sure about a spread type offense. We’ll just have to wait and see who comes in and what type of offense the new coaching staff wants to run.

  28. Manbearpig
    12:57 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with the majority. Whitlow has potential but it’s not at qb but in a mold of Cobb lite. The new coach will prob make it a battle between Towles and Smith

  29. Jman
    1:01 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Once again. Who cares. All 3 of these QBs suck. There’s no future involving winning a championship with any of them. UK football isnt going to bringing home any championships soon so why even get wrapped up in it. Hpw can someone follow a team that has no chance of being champions. Ill never understand. Remember- BASKETBALL = UK, not” foos”ball.

  30. Tigercat
    1:11 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Smith is the only QB who earned the starting position, and played like it. Whitlow can’t throw. Towles plays with a sense of entitlement. What could possibly have occurred in August that made the QB race tight? Joker already ran off one QB, even after pomissing pt in the Bowl game, which didn’t occur. Now we will probably run off the RB who Joker apologizes to after every game for not playing him. Only 3 more games in the farewell tour. He needs to quit before the end of the season to give us some leg up over UT, Ark and Auburn for a Coach.

  31. Max E. Beasley
    1:12 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Smith will be the qb! best case scenario says Whitlow can be a do it all (ala Cobb) type player in terms of his size, versatility and athleticism. PT will be the #2 guy and be used in a certain situations to gain experience and not be force fed.

  32. fan fan
    1:17 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    If whitlow can’t pass what does that say about towels? He out pass towels everyday people. He will beat out all and the only reason he didn’t max because he had a 2 yr head start. The offensive playbook is stupid and complex. Remember whitlow did not come from a passing high school and all this is new for him and he still beat out towels, newton, the walk on, and the transfer kid. He doesn’t turn the ball over much and the best athlete with the most powerful arm. Witha new coach comes a new ooffense which means everyone has to start on a level playing field! Whitlow has the best upside and the most talent — odds are he is the starting QB next yr. Max is injury prone.

  33. Bobbum man
    1:21 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    I say we rotate all 3 every game, seems to be working well…. Whoevers doing good (marching down field ect) you take them out and bring in a fresh qb to ruin the momentum… I mean to finish the drive. Keep on keepin on joker ur doing great

  34. fan fan
    1:22 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    P.S…..If the new coach is a spread team competition is already over!

  35. Rixter
    1:22 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Obviously, the ideal situation would be to have Smith 2 years ahead of Towles, when Smith graduates you have a junior QB with some experience to take you thru the next 2 years. But it didn’t happen that way… I think we can keep 2 of them, the other one leaves after being third string next season. Unless Whitlow could move to another position….

  36. fan fan
    1:26 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Remember Max was not good last yr and he had a yr to study the offense. Max and Towels come from a passing back ground not Whitlow. I really believe he will not only start will be a all SEC player before its over

  37. Realistic Thinker
    1:27 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    #21 is right, you people kill me. Everyone on here has an opinion based on nothing but the first thing that pops in your head. Towles could not get a medical RS unless he was ruled out for the season by a doctor. And, technically Whitlow and Towles could possibly have 4 more years at UK. There’s no rule against redshirting upperclassmen.

  38. westrncat
    1:30 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    I did not watch the game Saturday as I knew it would be another loss. If Mitch does not get rid of Joker no one should support the program any longer. I am done untill a new Coach is hired.

  39. Wanna win
    1:51 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    UK will get a new high profile football coach, no doubt. This new coach will recruit and bring in two or more Tebow like QBs for next season. Smith will compete against them. Could care less if anyone transfers. Tired of cry baby excuses every week.

  40. hellcat
    1:52 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Outlined against a blue, gray October sky the Four Donkeymen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Barnhart, phillips, Sanders and Minter.

    My apologizes to Grantland Rice.

  41. Capt
    1:59 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Yep, who cares? Not me!

  42. SevenT
    2:03 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    #39 Mitch Barnhart doesn’t know jack about winning football in the SEC or he would have never done the stupid “coach in waiting” non-sense. Mitch Barnhart is a money / bean counter / cheapskate that shopped for a Coach based on a bargain price. There is absolutely something UK Fan can do. DO NOT GO TO THE GAMES. DO NOT RENEW YOUR TICKETS FOR NEXT YEAR. Mitch will notice the missing beans.

  43. Harsh reality of football
    2:06 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Before UK makes any rash quarterback decision for next year lets see how the NFL draft goes Ally.

  44. meeksuperfan
    2:13 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Towles does not think he will be here for five years ala tim couch so why not start playing him now and get his feet wet. Max will be the starter heading into next year with towles and whitlow whith the chance to win it.The new coaching staff if chosen wisely will have plenty to work with if they can keep everyone here.He can look like a genius early which will make him look better in recruiting.My vote goes out for Eric Mangini,bellicick asst coached brett favre and tom brady and he has worked at espn, exposure to kids, and he is defense first which is what you need to survive the sec.

  45. meeksuperfan
    2:18 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    New coach will equal a sold out commonwealth and a new buzz around the program. The new 100 million in upgrades if approved will help with recruiting and the talent on the team will be ready to contribute next year after an offseason of conditioning and pooping enough ice cream. This will make the new coaches look good which will also help in recruiting. ERIC MANGINI atleast do your homework on him barnfart.

  46. Catsnfishermen
    3:08 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Did you watch the game yesterday number 45? I would guess Andre Woodson thought the same several years ago when he led UK to bowl games. So when things go bad it’s the coaches fault and when they go good it’s all about me with no help from my teammates. That attitude is sour puss and a lot of the BBN does not like it. The only UK freshman who may not be here 4 years is Landon Foster.

  47. jch
    3:15 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve been asking this same question here for several days now. Glad to see it getting some attention and look forward to seeing the comments.

    Another follow-up question might be, “we know we have 3 solid options at QB for UK next season but, just how good are these three QBs when compared to the rest of the conference? Would any other SEC team want any of these 3 as their starting QB next season?”

  48. jch
    3:24 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with whomever said they were ready to give Joker the benefit of the doubt next season due to how depleted the team is this year from injuries.

    But, the decision to use Towles AT ALL this year is what did it for me. This was a very selfish decision on Joker’s part. The only good that could have come from this considering the timing of his decision is Towles may have shown enough promise for Joker to keep his job next year. There was no possible way for UK to have a winning season or make a bowl at the time Joker decided to “burn” the red shirt.

    As it turned out, Towles loses an entire year of eligibility for the opportunity to play a few series all year… One of the announcers yesterday said he had only seen 1st team snaps in a total of 6 practices all year… And now he only has 3 years remaining and very little experience, in game or in practice, to show for it.

    Not only is Joker a poor in-game decision maker, he is an even worse decision maker when it comes to managing the collegiate careers of kids who are trusting him to “have their back”.

  49. Gabe Daddi
    3:25 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    I think Patrick Towles will go the way of Ryan Mossokowski.

  50. Jokersajoke
    3:33 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Great point #48. The same scenario can be made position by position on both sides of the ball. Joker’s supposed to be such a great recruiter and man for man we don’t stack up against any team in the SEC. Nothing changes next year. Our 2 & 3 star recruits no one else in the SEC wanted have a year of experience and know how to lose.

  51. Howintheworld
    3:36 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Joker had Towles listed all year as 4th string. About a month ago his father demanded he play. Read the articles. Joker is not an SEC coach, but don’t blame Joker on this 49. From the sloppy play yesterday, there wasn’t any promise from anyone to keep anyone’s job. About 20 freshman burned their redshirts. There is no sacred freshman for UK football. Dream on!

  52. BuckToothInBugtussle
    3:47 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    1. Alabama
    2. Oregon
    3. Kansas St.
    4. Notre Dame
    5. LSU
    6. Ohio St.
    7. Georgia
    8. Florida
    9. Florida St.
    10. Clemson
    11. South Carolina
    12. Louisville



  53. Big Whoop
    3:49 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    For a any good OC, having 3 QBs to work with would be rubbing his hands in anticipation. However, Sanders has shown he can only work with one QB at a time. So…who will it be? Probably Towles. The Squeaky Wheel (Towles Daddy) always gets the attention. Max will move on to WKU and then beat us after he has to sit out a season.

    Should we get a new coach, all bets are off and these QBs, including the new ones coming in, will have to compete. Mt bet, right now, is Max gets the nod.

    Btw, I do think Joker will be back until his contract expires in 2014. This university has shown that they will always do thing on the cheap when it comes to football.

  54. STEVE!
    4:11 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Whichever one of the Smith\Towles duo is named starter, the other one will transfer. Neither will want to sit the bench at UK for the rest of his career.

  55. Joe Dan
    5:29 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    How about we redshirt the entire football program until we get a @#$% coach— Why do we ignore the Elephant in the room—-aka… the GLARING FACT we’ve not had a coach with a ‘winning career record’ since 1961… 19 freaking 61. That over 50 years.

    We talk about the symptoms and ignore the disease…

    Thank God for basketball…. cuz we’re gridiron idiots.

  56. Vote 4 Kodos
    6:10 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    This is all moot since a new coach will solve this problem for us.

  57. jch
    6:45 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    56 – if only this were possible….

    55 – I would be surprised if 2 of the 3 don’t transfer at the end of the semester. I wouldn’t be overly surprised if all 3 do, especially if Joker is still the coach.

    Joker needs to be fired ASAP. I’d like to see it happen immediately and a “search committee” be put in place and publicly seen pursuing potential coaches.

    This won’t happen of course, but if Joker isn’t fired Monday, November 26 UK football will see a rash of transfers and de-commitments.

    Look at it from a player’s point of view, would you rather play for the laughing stock of the SEC or go to a minor conference or DII and be “the” guy, which most of these kids could do? Either way, with the exception of 1 or 2 (do we dress 2 punters??) these guys aren’t going to be playing on Sunday no matter where they spend the next few years.

  58. jch
    6:47 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    57 – depends on who the new coach is…

  59. jch
    6:58 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    51 – thanks, but, our 2-3 star recruits are better – at least by “star” ranking – than what Brooks had to work with.

    We should be beating the likes of Missouri, Vandy and Ole Miss; and be competitive with Auburn, Arkansas, Miss. St., Texas A&M and Tennessee based on the level of recruits we have. But, obviously, we aren’t.

    To me, that’s a great example of the difference a good coach can bring.

    No matter what you say, Brooks was a good coach, he wasn’t great but, let’s face it, great coaches don’t come to UK. The best we can hope for is “good” and Brooks was in the top end of that category in my opinion.

    With all that said, who’s our next “good” coach?

  60. What the F
    7:11 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    “be competitive with Auburn, Arkansas, Miss. St., Texas A&M and Tennessee based on the level of recruits we have. But, obviously, we aren’t.”

    Are you f-ing serious? The level of recruits UK has gotten the last three years aren’t even close to any of these schools. Jesus christ UK football fans are idiots.

    And to all the folks talking about how resigning now would give us a leg up on Arky, UT, and Auburn you need to get serious about the state of this program. Kentucky is Kentucky in football and no one is going to jump on that job regardless of the point in time that it happens to become open until they know what else is out there.

  61. Jokersajoke
    7:15 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    Will Sanders call a screen or a draw?

  62. Throw back in time
    9:37 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    “By all accounts”, Tim Couch was behind all others under Curry. Curry proved it by having Couch run the option in the swamp. The QB race will be between Smith and Towles, Whitlow will be a Cobb type player. Just hope the coach is not who we have now.

  63. Caleb
    10:41 pm October 29, 2012 Permalink

    I see jalen whitlow as a Randall Cobb type player. I don’t think he will be as good but I think they have the same skill sets after all.

  64. Dolfan66r
    9:38 am October 30, 2012 Permalink

    I would play Towles and keep recruiting another QB. Smith or Whitlow are not the answers. Smith cannot make that 15 yard down and out throw on a dime that you must make in the SEC. Just watch the film. He looks like Mike Hartline at times.