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Jalen Whitlow made his case for starting quarterback

Max Smith was the odds-on favorite to be named Kentucky’s 2013 starting quarterback entering the spring game, but those odds have since changed.

Jalen Whitlow, the freshman quarterback thrown into the fire last season when Smith went down, improved his stock Saturday night with a stellar performance in front of a packed Commonwealth Stadium. Whitlow was the game’s unofficial offensive MVP, having completed 17 of 28 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 49 yards on the ground on seven carries, although he could’ve gone for more if not for the imaginary tackle rule to protect the quarterbacks in spring practice.

After the game, Whitlow downplayed his jump in the quarterback race, saying all three quarterbacks played well but still have plenty of room for improvement. While the numbers clearly show he was the star, at least for one night, Whitlow said he’s only worried about being the best he can be and not where he stands in the competition for the No. 1 spot.

“That’s up to the coaches,” Whitlow said when asked if he has a leg up on Smith and Patrick Towles. “I just tried to go out there and play my best.”

It’s difficult to tell if that was Whitlow’s best, considering it was against second string competition in a spring scrimmage, but he admitted to playing well this spring and having a lot more confidence entering his second season. He showed off a new swagger while talking to the media Saturday night, which he credits to maturity and being grounded.

“Last fall I was a little 18 year old just trying to grasp everything, everything was moving so fast,” he said. “But now, the college life, it’s not a big thing anymore so just coming in and focusing on football and school and being grounded is the biggest thing.”

And that confidence?

“You never see Peyton Manning carrying himself like a Regular Joe.”

We can all agree it’s a little early to pull out the Peyton Manning comparisons, but it is time to acknowledge that Whitlow is a serious candidate for UK’s starting role under center. The job that was once believed to be Max Smith’s to lose, with Towles and Whitlow competing for second, now appears to be a wide open race and Whitlow took the lead on Saturday night.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

23 Comments for Jalen Whitlow made his case for starting quarterback

  1. Jared
    11:35 am April 14, 2013 Permalink

    Angry fans on how Towles should start in 3, 2, 1…

  2. the Big Dog
    11:42 am April 14, 2013 Permalink

    I can’t tell if this is good news or not. Are the other quarterbacks that much of a disappointment or is Whitlow that much improved? Towles should be rising to the top but that doesn’t mean that he will.

  3. Tomas
    11:46 am April 14, 2013 Permalink

    This is going to piss a lot of people off.

  4. hahahaha
    11:48 am April 14, 2013 Permalink

    its a spring game, jesus christ

  5. DLN
    11:55 am April 14, 2013 Permalink

    Whitlow showed flashes of potential last year, both as a pure passer and a dynamic dual-threat. It’s great to see he’s continuing to work hard to improve rather than taking a backseat to the popular conception. He’s throwing the ball with a little more zip and is doing a better job of planting his feet and positioning his body towards his target. He’s dangerous with his feet, but sometimes he scampers a second too early. Needs to stand a little taller in the pocket, but he’s already moving and playing with more confidence.

    Towles stands tall in the pocket and has a cannon for an arm. Some of the throws he can make are pretty astounding. He’s doing a better job of working through his progressions and reading the defense. Needs to stay consistent and continue to work through his reads.

    Max Smith has a very good arm and is a smart quarterback. He rarely throws off his back foot and is consistent with his throwing motion. He moves fairly well and takes his time to find the best target. Needs to find his target a little quicker in this offense, which can be difficult without staring down your target.

    All of these guys are capable of leading this offense. Whitlow’s athleticism is hard to overlook though.

  6. 4real
    12:12 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    as long as we win games I don’t give a flying F*ck who’s under center

  7. ukinhc
    12:16 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    This isnt little league where the big name plays. Especially with Stoops not recruting any of the 3, the one giving UK the best chance to win will play.

  8. Are UKidding Me
    12:20 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    We Wike Whitwow.

  9. Are UKidding Me
    12:22 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    But that big arm of Towles’ is going to be attractive to the coaching staff. If he isn’t in the mix, it’s mental/attitude and not talent. Whitlow seems like he has done a lot of growing up and is mentally prepared for the SEC stage. That is a huge positive.

  10. ItsMe
    12:43 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    I think Jalen meant Peyton Manning is a good role model and definitely wasn’t trying to compare himself to him.

  11. Pal man
    12:51 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    Horrible game. If that’s the air raid we are in trouble. Whitlow had the big stats. Boring slow offense. I watched a film of Texas tech and they substituted wide receivers in fast and furious. Last night it didn’t happen. Slow, boring football.
    Praising a wide receiver that had 5 drops. C’mon.

  12. L1C4
    12:57 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    It was great to see Kentucky finally get a win the SEC last night.

  13. btowncatfan
    12:57 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    The player no one is talking about is Phillips. He looked really good, strong arm. Certainly won’t play this year, unless something catastrophic happens. He has size and arm strength. The Cats have a strong QB corps.

  14. Larry
    12:59 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    Why were the white team, the so called best players on the visitor sideline. Quite a reward for being good.

  15. BBN
    1:18 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    Jalen Whitlow = Teddy Bridgewater, Part II

    Jalen has the athletic ability, can make difficult passes, and seems to have patience and good judgment like Bridgewater.

  16. DLN
    1:24 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    #11 TT had around 7 or 8 more receivers on their roster than we do. That’s been the common sentiment from every coach: We need more receivers, and we need more depth everywhere.

    Reserve your judgment until the first game. Spring games are like motion picture dailies: the basic shots are there, but the polish and bells and whistles aren’t there. Fall camp is post-production leading up to release.

  17. LateNightWorker
    1:25 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    What happened to Morgan Newton?

    1:37 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    I was the only QB not hung over yesterday. Teddy will eat me alive and WKU will gets more sacks than Cletus at White Castle.

  19. WKU
    1:38 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    #15 Lay off the weed and pills so early in the afternoon….

  20. niaps
    2:02 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    My big concern with Whitlow is his small size. Small size and running a lot means injuries. Cannot see over the line for receivers and he may be a waste there when he could be better for this team as a Cobb type player. Putting the ball in his hands in the open field is where I see him doing really well.

  21. ha
    3:47 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    15- whitlow wasnt illegaly recruited here as bridgewater was though.. Well he followed the cheater to UL, but still.. UL sucks

  22. Bugsnflys
    5:58 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    Why wasn’t it just all offense on white team, all defense on blue team, so that they could run a fast Air Raid.
    I heard Coach Brown commment that they couldn’t run the offense fast because his skills players were split up.
    Shocking to me.

  23. JW
    8:52 pm April 14, 2013 Permalink

    Whitlow looked better than towels for most of last year.