Freshman quarterback Patrick Towles will return to the practice field Tuesday and then Kentucky coach Joker Phillips says his status for Saturday’s game at Missouri will be evaluated.
Towles was scheduled to be redshirted before an injury to starting quarterback Maxwell Smith gave him a chance to play against Mississippi State. He directed an 80-yard scoring drive on his first series and went 5-for-5 passing. However, he twisted his ankle four plays later and has not played the last two games.
“If Towles can play, he will play. It will be same situation as we did in the Mississipi State game (with rotating him and Jalen Whitlow). But again, he has not taken a snap yet. And we'll take a look and see tomorrow,” Phillips said at his Monday press conference.
Phillips says he thinks it has “definitely helped” Whitlow, who was thrust into a starting role as a true freshman when Smith was hurt, to be able to come out of games at times and watch from the sideline to allow the game to slow down for him.
“We will continue to do that and let him step away. But again, the guy (Towles) has not taken a snap yet. We don’t know anything. All he’s done is drop back in the training room. We will see on the practice field (how Towles is),” Phillips said.
Whitlow had helped UK take a lead over Georgia last week before missing the third quarter with a migraine headache that led to “distorted” vision. He returned to the game in the fourth quarter and led another scoring drive in the 29-24 loss.
Phillips laughed when asked what his thoughts were when trainer Jim Madaleno told him that Whitlow couldn’t play because of a migraine, a problem he’s had since childhood but UK did not know about until it happened during the game.
“I'm sure that's what you're thinking, too. ‘You're kidding me.’ But he says he thinks we'll get him back. He didn't know exactly when. It took two series, was out two series and was able to go back in,” Phillips said. (Whitlow is a) Tough guy. Again, he's a guy that doesn't say much. And I guarantee you he wouldn't come out if it was something that he could play with, he would have played. Just didn't feel he could help the team at that point.”
Phillips says since Madaleno and the medical staff know about the problem, they can deal with it better now.
“We understand it now, which will help us be able to deal with it,” Phillips said.
Playing time: Even though UK ran for a season-high 206 yards last week against Georgia, Phillips was disappointed that true freshman Dyshawn Mobley got only one carry. Jonathon George ran 12 times for 87 yards and Raymond Sanders 18 times for 72 yards,.
“We didn't have long enough drives that the upperclassmen needed a blow,” Phillips said. “So he didn't get in there. We have to come up with some way to get him in there.
“Again, as you get into the game you forget all those, you forgot who was playing, come up with a different way. Maybe he goes in in the third series, but I thought as those guys get (tired) — which means he was up every series. Only happened one time that we had enough plays. One of them got dinged up that allowed him to go in. So we've got to do something else. (He’s) definitely a talent when you need to run the ball as much as we need to run now because he can use the power also. Those people have done a good job moving the pile. And he's even more of a changeup because he's more physical than even those two guys.”
Kickoff set: Kentucky’s home game with Vanderbilt on Nov. 3 will have a noon kickoff at Commonwealth Stadium and the game will be shown on ESPNU. The Wildcats play at Missouri for the first time this Saturday and that game will also have a noon start and be on ESPNU.