The Kentucky coaching staff has made it clear from the beginning of the season that they plan to find ways to utilize both Jalen Whitlow and Maxwell Smith at the quarterback position. Whitlow was given the starting nod for week 1, but ever since that game, Whitlow and Smith have essentially shared the duty of starting quarterback. The two have traded off series on a number of occasions, but last night the rotation was a bit more confusing. Whitlow started the game for Kentucky, helping the Wildcats drive halfway down the field before Smith came in to replace him. Three plays later, the offensive movement down the field was stalled when Smith was sacked for a loss. Kentucky ended up making the most of the situation with some trickery on the fake field goal, but for the first time all season, Jalen Whitlow appeared comfortable early in the game and the offense was rolling. The switch mid-series was a bit puzzling.
All night long, the two quarterbacks were shuffled in and out-– both making good plays coupled with some not so good plays. Neither quarterback was given the keys to the game though. Instead, the shuffle became one of the story lines following the game.
Neal Brown was asked about the quarterback situation following the game. Brown wasn’t ready to jump to any conclusions, “I have to evaluate the quarterbacks. I know they have to hit our guys better in stride so they can make plays.”
Jalen Whitlow was asked in the post-game interviews if he would prefer UK to settle down on one quarterback, rather than rotating the two. “That’s coach’s decision. I’m not in a position to say anything about that.”
Maxwell Smith finished 12-20 on the night, passing for 90 yards. Smith’s longest completion was 21 yards, but he was sacked 4 times. Smith also had one interception on the evening. Jalen Whitlow was 5-6 on the night, throwing for 35 yards. Whitlow also carried 3 times for a total of 9 yards.
The alternating quarterbacks obviously gives the opposing team something to think about and offers a different look for the defense each time a change is made. With that said, the two quarterbacks are so different that it might be a little predictable for the defense as to what type of play either one is likely going to be running. Heading into the meat of the toughest stretch of Kentucky’s season, will Kentucky continue to move forward with both quarterbacks playing a significant amount, or will the season move forward on the shoulders of just one?