-The biggest news of the day was the health of freshman quarterback Patrick Towles. Towles suffered a high ankle sprain in the Mississippi State game, and is now listed as day-to-day. He was not listed on this week’s depth chart, and could be out for an extended period of time — if not the rest of the season. A medical redshirt seems more plausible for him than rushing back to help this team to probably no more than three victories. Jalen Whitlow will continue to be the answer at quarterback, with Morgan Newton possibly helping out some. Newton’s shoulder is still a concern among Kentucky’s coaches, which is why he isn’t getting as much consideration. Phillips said that Newton will continue to work on passing routes, but the odds of his shoulder getting better soon is slim to none.
-On Saturday, DC Rick Minter said that he only had about six players healthy in his secondary after S Tay Neloms went down with a hamstring injury. Coach Phillips said Kentucky actually has seven players ready to go, but Neloms isn’t one of them. Neloms was not listed on the depth chart this week, and probably won’t make the trip to Arkansas as a result of it. As a senior, Neloms’ situation is much different than Towles’. He will try to get back on the field at all costs and should be back before the end of the season unless the injury is eventually deemed more serious.
–Phillips said that he wants to see quicker decisions from Whitlow going forward. His delayed decisions have caused numerous sacks that have killed offensive drives. Kentucky only allowed four sacks with Maxwell Smith under center, but have allowed eleven sacks since he’s gone down. This offensive line has shown how good it can be, and it’s still pretty good, it’s just hard to block SEC defensive linemen as long as he’s holding the ball.
–OG Zach West said the offensive line’s main concern is “keeping these freshmen quarterbacks clean.” Although it’s tough to do so with delayed decision-making, West is confident the group can handle it. West also wants the group’s run-blocking has to be better. West thinks the offensive line has to work with the running backs a little more so they can all get on the same page.
–LB Khalid Henderson has logged more snaps at the WLB position because he’s been able to make plays while on the field. He contributes his development to LB Bud Dupree and LB Avery Williamson taking him under their wing. Henderson said Williamson is like a big brother to him, and part of the reason he decided to commit to Kentucky.
-Phillips said there is now ten freshmen on punt return, with a sophomore (Demarco Robinson) returning punts. Phillips called it “exciting” for so many young players to play and sets up a lot of great talent for the future of the program.
– Listen to Matt and Ryan on today’s show, Day 1 of the Big Blue Madness ticket giveaway…