There been lots of quarterback talk this season. We went from having a 3-way competition between Whitlow, Smith and Towles to a 2 -way competition with Smith and Whitlow to just Whitlow back to Smith and with injuries we’re now looking at another guy being brought back in. At Mark Stoops’ Monday press conference, he told us that Whitlow was the starting guy and was ready to play again, but due to Smith’s performance and his own injury, they were going to have to start getting one of the redshirt guy’s ready. That redshirt guy happened to be Reese Phillips, the true freshman. So this leaves us with Jalen Whitlow as starter, and Max Smith or Phillips as the second guy depending on the circumstances.
Stoops told us today that, “In a perfect world we keep our quarterbacks healthy and whoever was in there would be running the offense efficiently. In this case Jalen will be starting the game and it would be REALLY nice to have Jalen start a game and finish a game unless we decide to take him out for good reasons…then we could just sit on it and keep on working with Reese and let him keep his redshirt year. You know, if something happens early, then we have a decision to make.”
Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and our quarterbacks are not healthy. Brown agreed that it would be nice for Whitlow to both start and finish the game saying, “Jalen is getting all the starter reps, he’ll start the game and hopefully finish it and be healthy and all those type of things and Maxwell and Reese are splitting those two reps.”
Both coaches agreed that Phillips is handling his new responsibility well. Stoops said, “Reese looked good from what I saw, he got some reps, he’s good and getting comfortable. He has one of those personalities where he doesn’t get too worked up over anything.” Brown agreed, saying “He’s doing good, we’ve got him a decent amount of work in the last couple of weeks. Ideally we’d like to keep the redshirt on him this late but I think we’re mentally getting ready and getting him enough reps so if he needs to play he’ll be ready.”
Typically on a normal day on post-practice media availability any players who played the previous game are available to talk to unless they’re injured. The only quarterback allowed to speak with media today was Whitlow, however. Whitlow is a native of Alamaba and familiar with this Alabama State team with three guys from his high school (Pratville) on the roster, as is Brown from coaching against them at Troy. The last time Whitlow took on a team from his native state, he went down with the ankle injury that took his starting spot and put UK in this position to begin with.
When Whitlow made his return to the field against Mississippi State Thursday and connected with Jojo Kemp, the team showed life, but he went back out with a shoulder injury in the same game with Max Smith seeing the majority of the field time that game. Whitlow was asked today if he could see how much his team needed him when he went in versus when he was out. “I wouldn’t say all that. It would be good to be out there I think, to help the team, and I think they would want me out there too, my teammates, but I wouldn’t say that,” Whitlow told us. He also told us that his ankle was fine but his shoulder was sore, but nothing he couldn’t (and wouldn’t) play through.
So from the way it is looking, the coaching staff is prepared to rely heavily on Whitlow throughout the game with Max as the two guy but if things go south Reese’s redshirt could get burned at any point from here on out. This leaves Patrick Towles with his redshirt and 3 years of eligibility and preferred walk-on Clark Kissick, a freshman, with his redshirt year and four years left. Maxwell and Jalen are both sophomores and have not redshirted and Reese is a true freshman.
Tags: Alabama Alabama State Clark Kissick Jalen Whitlow Kentucky Football Mark Stoops Max Smith Maxwell Smith Mississippi State Neal Brown Patrick Towles Reese Phillps UK UK Football University Of Kentucky