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Your Sunday Quarterback Situation

On just the second play of Kentucky’s first offensive possession last night, Max Smith suffered an injury that would knock him out of the game — and it wasn’t his shoulder this time. No, it was an ankle injury that took out Kentucky’s starting quarterback and sent him back to the locker room for X-rays. Joker Phillips said after the game that the X-rays were negative, but they’ll take another look at the injury on Sunday.

If Smith’s injury is a significant one, Jalen Whitlow will hold the keys to Kentucky’s offense. Whitlow played better than “not God-awful” in relief for Smith against South Carolina, which makes us wonder why Morgan Newton was in the game for so long against Florida. Whitlow looked great on his first possession, a 94-yard drive from the 1 yard line, and continued to impress throughout the remainder of the first half. But pressure got to him in the second and it brought UK fans back down to Earth as he took sack after sack and struggled to get the ball out of his hands. Afterwards, Whitlow acknowledged his mistakes.

“It was difficult because they were coming,” Whitlow said after the game. “They were putting on pressure, I was holding on to the ball too much. Just got to stay focused.”

Joker Phillips said a lot of that pressure came because Whitlow failed to make the proper adjustments at the line before the snap.  He said, “The same motions and shifts that we do became really hard for him.  He missed a few of them.  Some of the pressure that he got was because he didn’t send a motion or didn’t send shifts.”

Remember Joker talking about how he needs a guy who can handle the “Oh Sh-t” moments? That’s what Whitlow struggled with. And, as you saw, he found himself in a lot of “Oh Sh-t” moments.  He did, however, manage to scramble out of some of those moments and make a big play. Joker called it encouraging to see Jalen make the most out of broken plays.

“He has a chance to extend plays with his feet,” Joker said of his freshman quarterback’s ability to escape out of the pocket.  “He made a few plays for us in the quarterback run game and he also made a few plays by pulling the ball down and making them play with his feet.  So that was encouraging for him.”

Expect Kentucky to add more quarterback run plays to the playbook this week if Towles is out. Joker said Whitlow isn’t a Wildcat guy, so don’t expect to see any Cobb-like play calls, but they will look to utilize Whitlow’s athleticism and elusiveness at the quarterback position.

Finally, for all of you Patrick Towles advocates, the staff will only considering removing Towles’ redshirt if Max Smith’s ankle injury is a serious one. Even then, they’ll only pull the redshirt if Towles is expected to contribute. A lot of fans have demanded that Towles see the field, but there is a reason he is the No. 4 quarterback on the depth chart. He’s just not ready to compete at this level. Yet.

Hopefully, we see Smith back for Mississippi State. If not, it’s #TeamWhitlow.

Go Cats.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

30 Comments for Your Sunday Quarterback Situation

  1. Jarred
    12:58 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    I’m #TeamWhitlow for the rest of the season! Our QB for the future!!

  2. bosshogg24
    1:00 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    Smith is going to have to get tougher if he wants to play! Why not take the play calling away from Sanders, he kills UK every game!

  3. jymbo
    1:12 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    They need to stay with Whitlow the rest of the year. The more experience he gets , the better he will become. He will be better than Smith in the long run.

  4. njCat
    1:20 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    Assuming Smith is out for a few weeks it will be interesting to see what Joker decides to do if Whitlow gets banged up, even for a couple plays. Hopefully he just goes w/ Newton to save Towles eligibility. The season is lost regardless.

  5. Common Sense
    1:22 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    Just would like to say that if you seriously believe it is Jokers fault that we lost that game, then you are an obvious idiot. Thats all

  6. njCat
    1:22 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    Whitlow looked great for a freshman in his first game. Great feet and instincts, and a strong accurate arm. He just needs to get used to the speed of the game and learn more of the playbook. He could really be a great one.

  7. harry
    1:23 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    #2, #3 i agree, kid played well under the circumstances. Simth seems to get hurt in every game though. I dont think its just offensive play calling alone.

  8. PTowlesdad
    1:23 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    DAMN!! This Witlow kid looks good. We may have to look at a transfer option. I live vicariously through my son and looks like my hay day just ended last night. Maybe I can start a rumor to destroy the top three quarterbacks…………..

  9. njCat
    1:24 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    The running backs also looked great – especially in the first half. They were finding running room w/ very small holes and ran downhill hard. If we can develope more depth or stamina on the O and D lines – this team might have a chance to be pretty good next year. That is a BIG if though..

  10. Big Whoop
    1:45 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    Whitlow did okay while the O-line blocked for him. Can’t complain about the kid after what we saw last week @ the QB position. The Cats left the field at the half upbeat in spite of Phillips and Sanders abysmal clock mangement at the end of the half. I was obvious that they didn’t keep the players motivated at half time. I didn’t see any emotion or passion in the 2nd half and that IS coaching or lack thereof.

  11. Vette72
    1:46 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    5) You are wrong. It is Joker’s fault they lost that game. Poor recruiting, poor play calling, poor coaching from top on down. I don’t think I would be calling people names if I were you. It makes you look the part.

  12. Billy K
    1:46 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    Smith must be made of blown glass. Please do not burn Towles’s redshirt on this crappy season

  13. harry
    1:55 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    looking at the remainder of this season I see two possible three wins, mossouri, vandy, and samford. Next three games I dont see any chance.

  14. CJ
    1:58 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    Funny thing is Whitlow looked like the perfect kind of guy to run the wildcat. Way to evaluate talent Joker, at least you are consistent on that.

  15. Jim
    2:03 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t you get it yet, it’s the system stupid. Joker’s system destroyed Newton and will do the same for these two young talented athlets.

    Get a coach who will take advantage of the athletic ability of these young men. Dump Joker and his system.

  16. please says
    2:05 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    Last thing we want Is Jalen doing a lot of the Wildcat. With Max being injured, we cannot afford to have q freshman take more hits than needed, otherwise we will have to burn the rs of Patrick Towles. IMO not worth it. Keep everyone healthy. I really feel bad for Max, first its his shoulder and then the hit below the knees. Why didn’t the refs call that?

  17. tdogg40330
    2:06 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    I dont see it as a waste to play Towles if they know Smith is gonna be out awhile.If he wants
    to play let him play, if he aint worried about the redshirt why should Joker?? Lets see
    what the kid has to offer …

  18. lower level
    2:22 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    if you were sitting in the lower level near the team during that terrible clock management at the end of the first half, you would know that joker was livid at sanders for the play calling and timeout. joker does deserve a lot of the blame for most things, but that situation was one where i’ll have his back. with that said, he’s still done after this year. whitlow looked like a good young talent though considering the defense he was going up against

  19. CatGrad7072
    2:24 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    11. I’ll add overall game management and no leadership presence whatsoever. Let’s throw in what 15 said for good measure.

  20. Head Bussa
    2:25 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    I thought Jalen did some nice things, but I’m not ready to say he’s the QB of the future when I haven’t even seen Towles play. Max is pretty good himself. Regardless, it doesn’t matter what the depth chart says now because there will be a new coach and the kids will get a fresh start. This season is over so yes, keep the redshirt on Towles and let the boys battle it out in the offseason and into next fall. Give me a coach who understands football and not some dumbass former wide receiver who couldn’t coach his team to a win over Trinity.

  21. SECFTW
    3:50 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    Towles isn’t ready to compete at this level yet according to Joker? I’d believe it since Joker has always done such a great job of creating the depth chart lol…#Joke

  22. fan fan
    5:17 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    People please stop sending the message that this yr is over fair weather friends. If we beat Arkansas Missouri Vanderbilt Stamford we just need the miss st or Georgia game and we are in a bowl game. Let’s get behind the players one team win at a time

  23. fan fan
    5:18 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    Forgot Tennessee so we have a great chance if we stay focused

  24. kyboy38
    5:49 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    This season can still be saved…Should be wins are Samford, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Missouri. Long shot is Georgia but its still at home. And toss ups are Tennessee and Mississippi State. This is only the case if Towles starts next week and they open up the offense for him. Joker has nothing to lose, his job is already gone but he can win it back with a bowl eligible team.

  25. STEVE!
    6:05 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    kyboy38, Vanderbilt almost beat South Carolina. A late touchdown gave USC a 4-point win. I’m not sure I would call Vandy a should be win. Miss State is a Top 20 team. Georgia is top 5. I hope we win the rest of our games, but I don’t see any wins in the SEC.

  26. Bill curry
    6:29 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    I am against pulling anyone’s redshirt unless it is a last resort. Especially in the Swamp. Can you imagine what kind of idiot would do such a thing?

  27. Affected by One Hitters
    6:30 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    Thy real name is #25

  28. njcat
    6:31 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    22./ 24. If we can’t beat Western at home, we ain’t winnin ANY SEC games. You’re thinking w/ your heart, not your head. Nice that you’re optimisitic – but do yourself a favor and don’t put money on it.

  29. derekabney
    7:27 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    Word is Towles will be taking first team reps this week at practice…Should be interesting!!

  30. Duke Sucks
    10:07 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    The NCAA needs to change the redshirt rule. I think it should be if you are redshirted the first game you shouldn’t be able to play all year and not leave it up too coaches trying to save their job. That being said no way joker removes Towels redshirt. 22/24 IF afrog had wings he wouldn’t bump his rear end. That little word has a big meaning.