[Redacted], by all accounts, is a totally different player.
Both mentally and physically, the quarterback says his game has improved significantly.
He’s not the only one.
“He’s a totally different guy right now than he was then (freshman year),” said the head coach “He’s just approaching things a little bit differently mentally, and I think he understands our passing game and the offense much better than he did at any time last year.”
No, that’s not someone talking about the transformation Patrick Towles has undergone over the course of 2014. Instead those are the words that Jonathan Smith wrote eight years ago to describe the leap Andre’ Woodson made going into his third year of college to re-claim the starting quarterback spot.
For those of us that need a refresher, during the spring of 2006 freshman Mr. Football, Curtis Pulley, looked the part and seemed ready to unseat Woodson who started 11 games as a sophomore. With his starting role in jeopardy Woodson changed his game. He went from our own Matt Jones said demonstrated “frustrating passing, worse running and general mediocrity” to a dynamic quarterback ready to lead the Cats on the gridiron. Woodson claimed the starting position and went on to lead the Cats to their first bowl game since 1999. Over his final two seasons Andre would pass for over 7,200 yards with 71 touchdowns to just 18 interceptions. He would continue a string of great local quarterbacks that included names like Couch and Lorenzen.
Perhaps Towles has the opportunity to accomplish a similar feat.
Coming into this season Towles had become an afterthought. Following a year that the new staff saw fit to redshirt the QB rather than insert him into the Max Smith/Whitlow mess many thought we would likely never see the 2012 Mr. Football take a starting snap in Lexington. Would he transfer? Would he put in the work and effort many had yet to see since he arrived on campus? Why would he with superstar Drew Barker coming into the fold?
Like Woodson before him, Towles saw his chance to be on the field slipping through his grasp and went out to do something about it. Patrick has spent 2014 quickening up his release and strengthening his footwork which when combined with his previous skillset that improvement has put him in the driver’s seat for the starting job. After leading the first team onto the field for the spring game Saturday night Towles echoed what Coach Brooks said about Woodson when he descibed himself as being a “totally different player than I was last year. It’s night and day.”
That change in work ethic and mentality is what elevated Woodson from average QB to a campus legend. If Towles can keep up the work and emerge this fall as starter then who knows, maybe he can make a similar impact and get the Cats back to a bowl. It’s not like we haven’t seen it all play out before. How do you think Towles will perform heading into his third season in Lexington?