A little look into Stoops’ point of view during today’s press conference, if he was as tall as me.
Drew informed you earlier of the biggest news of the day, confirming public suspicion that the starting QB job has been narrowed down to Jalen Whitlow and Max Smith. “I think both of those guys will play in the first game, I know both of those guys will play against Western, and I don’t know who is going to be starting.” According to Stoops both Jalen and Max had ‘some ups and downs’, but overall had a good workout today. Whether Stoops actually intends to play both against WKU, or is just feeding speculation and giving Petrino more to game plan is for you to decide.
Pat Towles is now firmly stuck in that #3 position, but Stoops believes that Pat has handled it very well, commending his positive attitude and work ethic throughout camp, “Patrick has been absolutely fantastic through the process. He fought, he wanted to win the starting job, but he’s had a great attitude and that’s what I told him. Patrick has been very good, he’s continued to work extremely hard. He’s got as much talent as any quarterback we have on campus, it’s just a matter of letting em grow into the situation a bit. He’s open to the idea, if the opportunity presents itself, to redshirt. If we go throughout the year and neither one of the quarterbacks are getting it done, then we may open it back up.” Stoops said it wasn’t an easy conversation for him, but Patrick has handled it very well.
Saturday’s scrimmage saw the defense dominate late, killing long drives by forcing 4 interceptions. The only thing more harmful than the interceptions were the amount of dropped passes in key situations. However today was a COMPLETE different story, with the wideouts ending the epidemic inside the walls of Commonwealth Stadium, “I can’t think off the top of my head if we had any drops. Maybe a couple, but but I don’t remember any of the top two groups dropping any balls.” Today’s evidence proves how crucial it is for this offense to take care of the ball and make easy plays. Creating long drives to keep the defense off the field cannot happen if wideouts aren’t making easy catches for positive yards.
Stoops also gave us a nice teaser, saying Ryan Timmons may very well be a starting WR Game 1.
DJ Eliot wasn’t too pleased with the defense’s performance today after having consecutive days of great play, with poor tackling and execution to blame, “fundamentally I thought we were coming along, then we just took a step back today.” He went on to further say, “the biggest thing is that we didn’t ‘finish it off’. We didn’t finish the play on a pass, we didn’t finish the tackle on a run.” OLB Kory Brown believed the problem today was poor communication, something that can easily be fixed before camp is finished. While Coach Eliot didn’t want to agree with me, the poor defensive performance may have a lot to do with the fact that the defense didn’t force a turnover today.
While it may have looked much gloomier on defense today than before, there were still valuable lessons learned. Coach Eliot believes the most important lesson was humility, “The good thing about this camp is that it’s gone back and forth. The last few days, we played well and did some good things on defense. The great thing about this game is that you can be humbled in a minute. Just when you think you’re doing something good, you show up and you’re not ready to play and somebody else is, they’ll embarrass you.”
Boone’s Butcher Shop Injury Report
Cody Quinn and Za’Darius Smith sat out of practice once again, but for the first time Coach Stoops seemed a bit concerned about the significance of their nagging ankle injuries. DJ Eliot didn’t voice the same concern, sticking to the ‘next man up’ mentality that the staff has presented throughout camp. While cornerback may have fewer men to step in for Cody Quinn (notice the rhyme?), the defensive end position has ‘4 or 5’ guys that could fill the large void on the end of the DLine, with Jason Hatcher, Farrington Heugenin, and TreVaughn Paschall all in the mix.
Center Zach Myers also sat out with an ankle/foot issue and Nate Willis was kept out for precautionary reasons, primarily because the staff doesn’t want to overload the new guy after missing a summer of conditioning with the team.