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Who is to Blame For The Offenses’ Woes?

After 6 quarters played with out a touchdown the alarms across Big Blue Nation are blasting out. The offense, which was supposed to be the team’s strength, is stuck in neutral.  A very winnable game against Missouri is on the horizon. If Kentucky can find a solution to their offensive struggles before the Tigers do they could very well find themselves ending September at 3-1. But before you can find a solution you must identify the cause of the problem. For Kentucky that answer isn’t so simple. Just who is to blame for the offenses’ recent woes? The answer is complicated:

Patrick Towles


It’s always easy to lay blame on the quarterback position when things aren’t going well on the offensive side of the ball but to a certain extent Towles has earned his share of the blame. As Coach Stoops said today at his press conference, “I think the frustrating thing for him and for me is that when there layups to be had, you can’t miss layups,”.  For Towles his issue since arriving on campus has been accuracy and he has not shown marked improvement in that aspect since last season. Just take a look at Towles’ stats against quality opponents from last season until now:


Two things immediately jump out when looking at theses games. First, the negative turnover margin. That’s just not going to get it done in the SEC. Second, is Towles’ accuracy in losses. In Kentucky’s four wins Patrick Towles has completed 65.57% of his passes which is excellent since it includes a 47% mark against the Ragin’ Cajuns where they basically forced him to throw it deep every time. But in the eight losses Pat is only completing on 51% of his attempts. Part of that is on the receivers dropping the ball and part is on Towles missing his target. Both must improve going forward to get that completion percentage to a winning level.

His accuracy also drops as the team faces superior defensive lines like Florida, Missouri, and Louisville had last season. For that the linemen need to step up and cut down on costly mistakes.

The Offensive Line

In Kentucky’s first two games the O-line played pretty well as they opened up lanes and gave Patrick Towles time to make plays. But against Florida they regressed and were beat play after play. To be fair, Florida’s defensive line features some insane talent in Jon Bullard, Caleb Brantley, and Cece Jefferson (who will all be playing on Sundays) and that talent was on full display. But the line will need to step up as SEC play continues and at the very least cut out the costly penalties.

Of Kentucky’s 5 penalties against Florida, four were committed by or related to the O-line  (holding, false start, delay of game, false start). Against South Carolina, the Cats  had 7 penalties with four of them coming from the line (false start, holding, holding*, holding* ). Those last two holding penalties came on first down, pinning the Cats back at 1st and 20 and killing drives before they could even begin.

The line play is clearly going to depend on the level of competition that they are facing but cutting down on penalties could provide a major boost to the offense.

Shannon Dawson

There were times last season that Kentucky looked like they could score on just about anybody, that’s including the same Florida team where Towles dropped 369 yards in the swamp. However Towles’ stats this year against Florida marked career lows in attempts, yards, and completion % and a big part of that is a reflection on the play-calling. For example, in the third quarter UK had only 3 pass attempts for a total of 0 yards while running the ball 14 times for a total of 78. There was no balance to the Wildcat attack and Towles never got into rhythm to connect with his open receivers.

Against Louisiana, Dawson was quoted saying he was too aggressive.  Against South Carolina in the second half they went too conservative. Against Florida perhaps the line was so disrupted that Dawson felt they couldn’t establish a balanced attack. The offensive engine is there ready to head to the races, it’s only a matter of fine tuning to find what works for our first time play caller.  All of BBN’s eyes will be watching for what is drawn up for this Saturday’s date with Mizzou.


While the blame is easy to spread around the silver lining is that all these issues are fixable. Our quarterback at times has played at an extremely high level. His 42 yard bomb to Jeff Badet in the South Carolina game is a showcase of what he could do on a consistent basis. Our line completely dominated our first two opponents and their mental errors are all correctable. They are mostly young guys with only room to improve. And at times our playcalling has been an lethal mix of pass and run that has kept opponents reeling. Shannon Dawson is still hammering his style out and once he does, watch out! The offense has the tools to be in the top half of the SEC, it’s only a matter of time until they get there and these 6 quarters will be quickly forgotten.



Article written by Andrew Cassady

Follow me @ACassady_KSR

20 Comments for Who is to Blame For The Offenses’ Woes?

  1. Matt
    9:53 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    I think we have seen enough of Shannon Dawson’s offense. I see why WV was not upset to lose this guy. We are paying a guy to coach our offense who never called the first play for the team he came from. He will take stoops down with him if a change is not made.

    • Bogus
      9:54 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      Lol wow just wow.

  2. Linebeard
    9:59 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    42 yard bomb to Javess Blue????

  3. SCCat
    10:01 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    Take it easy with this whole post. The wheels are not coming off – in fact, if we win Saturday, we are in the BEST POSITION THIS PROGRAM HAS SEEN IN YEARS. Sorry for all caps but damn – quit blaming, quit hating, quit armchair qb’ing – let the boys and coaches have another week.

    we are not behind here – we are right where or ahead of where expectations should be. Get in line – let’s move forward with this great group!


  4. Cliff
    10:13 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    Don’t forget about the receivers that keep making huge drops. There was a 14 point swing in the Florida game and all the blame can be placed on the WR core.

    • Priceless
      11:20 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      Maybe the reason the wr’s dropped passes is they were not expecting the pass to be near them, they were in shock.

    • J-Dub421
      10:35 am September 22, 2015 Permalink

      0-3 priceless.

  5. Anything wrong?
    10:36 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    Aw come on people, it is just one loss. We will be fine, our coaches know what they are doing, and we don’t. Missouri is coming up and there is no way we lose that game. It will be a big victory at home, and offensive side will right itself with a big game.
    PT is the best we have and no way should we play anyone else. We got this.

  6. Gman
    10:41 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    It’s not just 6 bad quarters. Over the last 7 games Patrick has averaged 51 percent completion with more interceptions than TD’s. That’s atrocious. There is a great article up on aSoB breaking it all down.

  7. Chris
    11:01 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    The WRs and O-line had a really bad game. Shannon Dawson had a bad game. But the only position that is consistently below average is quarterback. Maybe Drew Barker is worse than Patrick Towles. I don’t know and I trust the coaches to make that decision. But if the Cats are relying on Patrick Towles to win SEC games playing the way he did at the end of last season and so far this season, I don’t think this team will ever reach it’s potential. I think this team wins in spite of him, not because of him.

    • SinceStollField
      9:46 am September 22, 2015 Permalink

      Sorry to say, but this seems pretty accurate. Towles at times looks like a pro with some of his long throws, then leaves you shaking your head with how he struggles with accuracy and knowing where to go with the ball when he starts getting pressure. He certainly appears to have the physical tools to be a quality SEC quarterback. I hope for the Cats’ and Stoops’ sakes that he raises the mental part of his game. Stoops has got to have some doubts about Towles by now, despite what he says to the press. Kentucky has to have a higher level of quarterback play.

  8. Gary Pinkel
    11:26 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    We thought Missouri was a “very winnable” game last year because Indiana had beaten them and IU terrible last year! Result? Our offense couldn’t do anything, we couldn’t score, a game a lot like the FL game. Missouri’s “great defense” shut us down. So what’s changed to make this a very winnable game?

  9. Dano
    8:13 am September 22, 2015 Permalink

    If I recall correctly, Dawson said the passing offense was about quick throws to negate the pass rush, then take your shots down the field. Lots of the same formation with multiple options that are chosen at the line.

    IF that is the case, then the QB is relied on to make the correct read, and either pass or run, depending on what the D is showing.

    Anyone else remember hearing that? Or, am I just having another flashback?

    • Radmankd
      8:43 am September 22, 2015 Permalink

      I heard it.

  10. John Juan
    8:27 am September 22, 2015 Permalink

    I don’t know why people keep saying that Towles threw a great pass to Badet in the S. Carolina game. It was more Badet making a great dive to catch the ball. A great throw would have allow Badet to run underneath it and keep running, not lay out. That pass was overthrown too.

    9:01 am September 22, 2015 Permalink

    Until our receivers start catching wide open passes, an our line starts giving Towles more than a second to throw it we will not know if Towels is better or not. He can not get into any kind of rhythm with drops an sacks, or rushed throws coming left an right. I think we will be fine, I like my team.

      9:03 am September 22, 2015 Permalink


    9:05 am September 22, 2015 Permalink

    An as far as Dawson, I agree about the first few games that some of play calling in the second half of the games was very questionable, but in the Florida we didn’t have much of a choice… Florida lived in our back field, our guys could not stop them.

  13. Radmankd
    4:12 pm September 22, 2015 Permalink

    Would the moderator please explain why my comments were not posted. I honestly don’t understand why it was not posted.

    • Radmankd
      4:14 pm September 22, 2015 Permalink

      Never mind, brain fart.