Despite the uncertainty of Kentucky’s head coaching situation, Patrick Towles says he’s staying in Lexington for the long haul. The highly-touted freshman knows that a change at the top could mean changes everywhere else on the team. That is especially true for the most important position on the field: the quarterback. Whoever is coaching the 2013 Wildcats will have three guys with in-game experience to choose from in Towles, Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow. With the success Smith began the year with, he seems like the early leader for the starting quarterback gig next season. Smith might also be eligible for a medical redshirt that would give him an extra year as a Wildcat. If he’s given that extra year, Kentucky brings back three sophomore quarterbacks to compete for the position.
From Towles perspective, there are a lot of things he’ll have to battle to become Kentucky’s starter. For one, there will be a new coaching staff in place that didn’t recruit him. They’ll know his reputation but he’ll still have to prove his talent. Next, Smith could now be in the same class as Towles. With Towles’ redshirt burned this year, all three quarterbacks will essentially be competing for the starting job until they run out of eligibility. Three talented quarterbacks fighting for one spot should sound like dream scenario for Kentucky fans but when you came to a school to be a starting quarterback, it’s more like a nightmare. With Smith already a full year ahead of Towles (in terms of playing experience), it’s a very tough scenario for the young freshman. I caught up with Towles after practice to gauge where he’s at with the news of Joker’s dismissal as well as his play on the football field:
-How have things been since you learned of Joker’s dismissal?
“Well, you know, it’s the process we’ve been dealt, the hand we’ve dealt, and we have to do what we can to excel with the circumstances. These practice reps that I’m getting are extremely beneficial. I’m just trying to get all the snaps and experience that I can.”
-Have your practice reps changed at all?
“No, they are pretty much the same. I’m taking (first-team) reps here and there, just trying to get acclimated to everything and everybody because I’m going to be in the game at some point. They’ve been about the same. We’re just really trying to get ready for Saturday.”
-How has Max Smith been as a mentor since his injury?
“On the sidelines is where Max has been most beneficial. When it’s two freshmen quarterbacks against SEC defenses, it’s easy to get rattled. I think me and Jalen have both done good a job of not getting as rattled as we had been. But, yeah, Max does a really good job of keeping everybody calm, letting everybody know what’s going on and making sure everyone is doing a good job.”
-If you had to pick three characteristics that UK’s next coach would have what would they be?
“I think there’s only one that really matters and that’s being a winner. We just want to win and unfortunately with Coach Phillips we couldn’t get that done. We’re going to try hard to get two wins these next two weeks, but, you know, I want a coach that is going to help me do my goal and as weird as this sounds, it’s winning a National Championship.”
-Are you (at Kentucky) for the long haul?
“(Emphatically) Yes, sir.”