It was debatable whether or not Kentucky should have ever pulled Patrick Towles’ redshirt. Playing the most heralded recruit on the roster vs. Mississippi State with a 1-4 record didn’t make much sense unless you felt there was still a chance of turning the season around drastically enough to make a bowl, or if you’re strictly concerned with putting butts in the seats and regaining the excitement of the UK fan base. Lastly, if you’re 100% behind Joker Phillips and feel that showing-off what Towles can do was essential for keeping the head coach around past this season, you may have also supported the decision to lift his redshirt.
If you are like most of the UK fan base, you didn’t think Towles would be able to take a 1-4 team to a bowl game and you feel that it is too late for Joker to do anything to keep his job past the end of the season. That is how most of Big Blue Nation felt. Nevertheless, many fans still seemed to support the use of Towles, perhaps, simply because they were desperately looking for something to be excited about.
Patrick Towles did get the fan-base excited–we were excited for a whopping 4 minutes and 34 seconds. That was the length of Towles’ TD drive in which he completed 5-of-5 passes and led the offense 80 yards down the field for a TD, and made it look easy.
Then, Towles handed the ball off three times in his next drive, a three-and-out. On the first play of his third and final drive, Towles sprained his ankle while being sacked for a 12-yard loss and did not return.
The injury isn’t believed to be too serious, but if Patrick isn’t used in the remainder of the season, he can use a medical redshirt. Perhaps, what happened on Saturday was the best outcome that could have possibly happened for Towles and for the program. He wasn’t in for long, but in the limited action he saw, Towles gave us a glimpse (and gave others a glimpse) of what he can do in the future vs. a quality SEC opponent. We saw a glimpse of Patrick Towles in an SEC game, liked what we saw, and he can still be saved for the future with a medical redshirt just as long as he is not used again in the second half of the season.
With so many true freshman and sophomores playing major minutes and doing positive things while not getting injured, you’d have to think that’s a positive thing for the program no matter who the coach is next season and in the near future. Whether you want Joker Phillips gone or you want him back, what we saw from Patrick Towles on Saturday is something to be excited about. The few Joker supporters who may still remain will point to the youth and say that Joker needs a chance to coach these guys when experienced and healthy.
For the majority of the fan base who have already set their sights on a new coach next season, the glimpse we saw Saturday of Patrick Towles is also reason to celebrate. If a prospective new coach does his homework, researches the current UK roster, and can see what the program has in Patrick Towles and others, you would think the UK job is a more attractive one because of what is there in the freshman and sophomore classes.
If or when the time comes, Mitch Barnhart should swing for the fences and send the 4 minute and 34 second tape of Towles effortlessly leading Kentucky 80 yards down the field for a TD to all prospective head coaches. Along with that tape, Barnhart should send more tapes of Towles’ ridiculous senior season at Fort Thomas Highlands in which he threw 42 TD’s and only 1 INT as the 9th ranked QB prospect in the country according to Rivals. If Barnhart can sell the idea that UK can win in the near future in America’s top football conference, and that Towles is a can’t miss prospect destined for success with the right direction and parts around him, could this be a chance for Kentucky to bring in the high-level coach UK fans have been waiting so long for?