COACH PHILLIPS: Got some good and not so good news. First, Max Smith is out indefinitely. He’ll have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his ankle. If he can return before the season’s over ‑‑ if he cannot return, we’ll apply for a medical hardship at the end of the season. Dakotah Tyler is out with an ACL. He’ll be back in the summer. Miles Simpson is day to day. Gabe Correll is out and CoShik Williams is day to day. Zach West, in looking at him today, he’s a lot better than he was on Saturday. He’ll be back ‑‑ we expect him back on Wednesday or Thursday. (Raymond) Sanders, the same. Expect him back Wednesday or Thursday. Josh Forrest is back and (Ashely) Lowery is back.
Q. You mentioned after the game, you’re going to have to have a backup for Jalen? Is redshirt probably off Patrick Towles?
COACH PHILLIPS: Yes. (That is) what we had talked about last couple weeks. If Max is out ‑‑ going to be out for a significant amount of time, that we would pull the redshirt off and play him. That’s what we intend to do.
Q. Coach, what is Max’s feeling right now?
COACH PHILLIPS: He’s down, obviously. He has worked his tail off to get in the position to be playing major college football, and he was a guy that wasn’t signed until March after his senior year of football. And obviously he’s down, based on how hard he’s worked. Not only has he worked hard to be able to play, he’s playing at a high level also, and then to have an injury in game three and not able to play game four, and then two plays into game five being injured. You know, had he played game four, applying for a medical hardship would have been out, so I’m a little bit smarter than some of you guys think.
Q. How does Jalen Whitlow’s health factor into taking the redshirt off Towles?
COACH PHILLIPS: How does it factor in? Well, Whitlow is fine. He didn’t show up on the injury report today. So he’s fine.
Again, we’ll have to play them both. It’s going to take an effort of both of them. And it could be right in the middle of the series. If it’s not series to series, it could be play after play after play, switching them in and out, give them things that they both can do, give them a chance to go out and play and compete.
Q. How much of the playbook does Towles know given he has been running mostly with the scout team?
COACH PHILLIPS: Well, he had no been working with either the ones or the twos, but he’s in the meetings every day. He’s a guy that pays attention in the meetings, and we’ll see tomorrow exactly what he knows, how much he knows.
But again, it’s difficult when you hadn’t gotten any reps, but we’ll get him the reps this week to see, see how much he knows and see what he can do.
Q. How do Jalen and Patrick compare skill-set wise?
COACH PHILLIPS: The reason why we decided to go with Jalen as third because he’s a guy that could extend plays. We saw that yesterday (Saturday vs. South Carolina). Not saying that Patty Ice (Towles) can’t, but he does move around some, about as well as Jalen. Jalen was signed here as an athlete/quarterback, and so he should move around a little bit better, but Patty Ice is more of a pocket passer than Jalen. I gotta quit calling him Patty Ice. (Laughs). That’s what I call him every day.
Q. PattyIce is his Twitter name …
COACH PHILLIPS: He doesn’t Twitter too much. Obviously I don’t. Is that his name on ‑‑ oh, okay. So you guys know it.
Q. Did he ask you to call him that?
COACH PHILLIPS: Yeah. He just said don’t call him Patty Cake. (Laughs).
Q. You talked Saturday about tweaking the offense to what Jalen knows, will you have to tweak it again for Towles?
COACH PHILLIPS: We gotta do both. We gotta tweak it more than what he can do and also what this other guy can do, too, what Pat Towles can do.
Q. Is Patrick’s skill-set closer to Maxwell’s style?
COACH PHILLIPS: A little bit closer. He’s a little bit closer to Max (than) Jalen.
Again, Jalen is a guy that can run around and make plays, and again, extend plays. And Patty ‑‑ I’m going to go ahead and call him Patty. He’s okay with it. Patty’s a guy that can ‑‑ I shouldn’t say Patty. Patty Ice. Patty Ice is a guy that sits in the pocket and can complete passes.
Hey, we gotta laugh. Come on. I’m not going to talk unless you guys laugh. Okay. I’m not. (laughter)
Q. How daunting is it for both the team and you to make those adjustments?
COACH PHILLIPS: It’s football. We understand that injuries come with it. I was talking today, imagine in ’05 when you had all those injuries. What was the end result? Created a lot of depth. The depth didn’t show up till the next year, but we did create a lot of depth.
Q. The fact that in the first half Randy (Sanders) talked about calling things that were in Jalen’s comfort zone and the second half when he got behind, he kind of had to get out of his comfort zone, but do you feel like there are things he can build on with that first half?
COACH PHILLIPS: Definitely. With the amount of snaps he had, he had 61 snaps. Definitely can build off that amount of snaps in an SEC game for a guy who hadn’t stepped foot in a game with that many snaps. So definitely it’s something for him to build on. Now we gotta get the other guys something to build on.
Q. You said you had to laugh … Do you feel like with this injury that the deck is stacked against you?
COACH PHILLIPS: No. Again, it’s football. We understand that. Injuries happen.
But yeah, it’s a position that we did feel good about. Guy (Maxwell Smith) was playing as high a level ‑‑ probably as high as anybody I have been around at this phase of his career. And again, we understand it. He understands it. It happens. We gotta get the next two guys ready to play.
Q. What about Jalen’s poise overall from last week until now?
COACH PHILLIPS: I didn’t really see much of it when he came off the sideline in the Florida game, but this week I paid a little bit more attention to him after he came off the sideline. And he was as poised as I’ve ever seen a true freshman go in a game.
He was able to give us back information that we needed. He was seeing things well. There was some things that he didn’t ‑‑ some motions, some shifts that he struggled with at times, but those are things we may have to give up, you know, just to give him a chance to play a little bit faster. But I really liked what I saw in his eyes during the game.
Q. You look around and so many young guys making more and more plays. Some say that is a sign the team is down, but do you see it as a sign of moving forward?
COACH PHILLIPS: You know, you see some fast guys that are ‑‑ fast, athletic guys that are energetic. And I watched our punt team go out there and take the ‑‑ punt return team take the field and there’s nine freshmen, nine of them out there. Four guys that we tell, you guys attack the shield were all true freshmen. And they’re bouncing around like Mexican jumping beans, you know. They’re just running around.
And it tells you that the future is bright, but we understand and we gotta win now. Okay. We gotta win now. And we think those guys give us the best chance to win. That’s the reason why they’re playing, not because we’re trying to build for the future. We’re playing those guys because we think they give us the best chance to win.
Q. Question regarding how important it is to get a win considering the youth of the team may need some confidence …
COACH PHILLIPS: It’s important to get wins, period. Not just for them, but for these seniors who have put so much into this program, Collins Ukwu, Matt Smith and Larry Warford, Tay Neloms. Those guys have put a lot into this program, so it’s important to get wins for those guys also.
Q. You guys ran the ball pretty well the last two weeks. How important is that going to be going forward?
COACH PHILLIPS: It’s definitely important. We’re running the ball against some very good defenses. Again, we gotta get more snaps at it. In the first half we had like 20‑something runs, and we didn’t get an opportunity to run it as much in the second half, but still had a decent average, not as good average you need when you have freshmen quarterbacks in there. So we’re going to have to do a better job of continuing drives, grinding drives out with freshmen quarterback in their comfort running the football.
Q. Question regarding Maxwell’s shoulder and if it will require surgery as well …
COACH PHILLIPS: No. It just needs rest. He was going to play. I mean he was going to throw (against South Carolina). He wasn’t going to just hand the ball off. So he was ready to go Saturday with his shoulder. I don’t know how he would have held up with a hit, but we thought he was about 95 percent ready to go. So that’s why we played him. But I don’t think his shoulder would need anything.
Q. What do you think about CoShik?
COACH PHILLIPS: You know, CoShik’s day to day also. I didn’t mention him. But he’s trying very hard to get back. He has a strained muscle in his hip. I don’t have ‑‑ the kid’s got some different muscles than me and Coach Cropp had back in the day (laughing). So he’s got a muscle in his hip that I’ve been trying to figure out where it’s at. I don’t have it.
But he’s trying. And you know, we’re starting to get banged up at the tailback position also. Raymond is day to day. CoShik’s day to day. Jon‑Jon’s been one of those steady guys. And we continue to see (Dyshawn) Mobley when he goes in the game gets positive yards and runs behind his pads, so we may get to see him a little bit more.