The Kentucky offense is at its best — and we use that term loosely — when quarterback Maxwell Smith is throwing the ball over the yard. The Wildcats entered Saturday’s game with Florida as the league’s top-rated passing offense. Unfortunately, Smith threw four picks in his 60 attempts against Western Kentucky two weeks ago and Morgan Newton — poor, poor Morgan Newton — was Gatorbait this past weekend when he had to fill in for the banged-up Smith in Gainesville.
Making matters worse, Patrick Towles’ dad is talking. Towles is a Kentucky native. He’s a true freshman quarterback who set passing records in high school and is viewed by many Big Blue fans as the next Tim Couch. Now four games into his first season with the team, his pop is popping off to let everyone know his son wants to play ASAP.
Terry Towles passive-aggressively told The Louisville Courier-Journal yesterday:
“We are not looking into anything like (transferring) at this point at all. Patrick dearly wants to contribute to the University of Kentucky and he wants to do it now, but as far as transferring, we’ve not made any decisions on that…
All Patrick has ever wanted is just an opportunity to compete, and I think there is some definite frustrations over that. He wants to contribute. He came to the University of Kentucky because he thought he could immediately help. And he’s frustrated. But he’s staying positive. I’ve talked to someone who sees practice, and he’s going at it full-tilt and working hard.”
By sharing his son’s frustrations with the media it seems that papa might be a little frustrated with matters his own self, no? Matter of fact, the more the senior Towles opened up, the more clear it became that he was firing a warning shot toward UK’s coaching staff:
“Patrick has always been about one thing, and that’s winning — winning now. He’s not concerned about playing part of one year, taking away a year of eligibility. He’s not concerned about that at all. He wants to play now. Right now…
(If he doesn’t) We’ll make determinations later in the year, but I know he wants nothing more than to be at the University of Kentucky. We’ll see how this season continues to play out. If we feel this program is headed in the right direction, then Patrick — I know — certainly wants to be a part of it.”
Hmmm. Patrick’s frustrated and Patrick wants to be a part of the UK team, but “we” will see how things go and “we” will make determinations later in the year. Interesting. (For the record, I’m personally not a big fan of players’ parents opening their traps. It usually just causes more trouble for a team/coaching staff and puts more pressure on the player/son.)
Meanwhile, embattled — “doomed” might be a more fitting term — head coach Joker Phillips announced after the second game of the season that he planned to redshirt Towles which was the exact opposite of what he’d initially said he’d do. (Wow, a coach that promised to play a recruit and then decided to redshirt him instead? Whodathunkit?)
Now Phillips is being backed into a corner by a dwindling UK fanbase who want someone like Towles to be excited about and a player and/or his dad who are demanding playing time “right now.”
For Phillips, it’s probably a lose-lose situation. If he doesn’t play Towles, his father could eventually issue a “him or us” ultimatum to UK AD Mitch Barnhart via the media. If he does throw a true freshman into the SEC fire, it’s likely Phillips’ record will look even worse at season’s end… which could also seal his fate.
And speaking of losses, the Cats could also lose safety Mikie Benton for a week if the SEC office decides that his Saturday helmet-to-helmet hit on defenseless Florida pass-catcher Jordan Reed is worthy of a suspension. The play did draw a flag:
We await a decision from the SEC on Benton.
We await further complaining from Towles’ father, too.