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Former player believes “Whitlow is the man,” likes new receivers, linemen


A number of former Kentucky players who know far more football than me watched UK’s open practice Friday. Here is  how one analyzed the quarterback competition and more in a concise, blunt way that I think you will enjoy:

“Here is what I saw:

“Whitlow.  sharp with swagger. Acts like the job is his. MUCH improved passer and just carries himself with confidence

“Towles. great long passer. Looks much better physically. Has trouble getting the ball out of his hands on short passes more so than Whitlow or Phillips BUT he is much more ‘together’ than in the spring.

“Smith. I think he will be third or fourth string. Has trouble getting the ball out on short passes and misses long touch passes. Best on 12-15 yard crossing patterns and out patterns. I guess you would call him a classic intermediate dropback passer. Which does not get it anymore. I hope I am wrong but it looks like the injuries are taking their toll. Hope I am wrong. Great kid.

Phillips. EASILY the most natural passer. NEVER throws a duck or a bad pass. Kid looks like he really has got it. Wonder what happens when Barker and him and Towles and Whitlow are all around.

CONCLUSION: Whitlow is the man. Why? The air-raid style offenses have changed. Having a QB that is a run threat makes the defense one player short in coverage. Don’t believe me? Look up RG3 and Johnny Football for further evidence.

TEAM as a whole. I loved the looks of the new receivers and the new linemen. Ramsey Meyer looks enormous and Jacob Hyde looks like one of those Crimson Tide guys. The drills were crisp. NO wasted time. NO jacking or jiving around. Players were LOCKED on to coaches when they were talking. NO SLOPPY FAT guys, either. Just a whole different style of coaches and coaching.”

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  1. Andy

    Thanks Larry, this does give us a glimpse as to how the QB race is playing out. For some reason I am surprised Smith is considered 3rd string. Seems like this is Jalens job to lose.

    1. larryvaught

      This former player knows his football, too. Just didn’t want to give his name and rub anyone at UK the wrong way for sharing info

  2. Ira

    Just cause you have swag doesn’t mean the job should be yours. All I read is Whitlow an improved passer.

    Right now I will take Smith he was accurate in game settings. If the Coaches say differently then I’m fine. I want what is best for the team, not a former player trying to analyze something he may or may not have a clue about. Does he have an insight to what the coaches are looking for? Doubtful.

  3. Anonymous

    Ira, I’m reading many posts that Maxwell’s arm has not re-gained strength, and if so, it will be difficult to QB in the SEC.

  4. JohnW

    Looks like Phillips is turning some heads….was wondering if any Vaught Readers or Mr. Vaught knew of a good type of Head Phone Radio that is good to use inside commonwealth for the games…Thanks

    1. larryvaught

      JohnW, very good question. HOpefully someone here can suggest best radio to use inside Commonwealth. one worry I don’t have in the pressbox

  5. Anonymous

    I think we are fortunate to have four good qtrs…we’ll need them all when we get into the meat of our schedule and the injuries start to take their toll.

  6. Pat_Wren

    Ira….you can’t be serious. Have you not been reading about Smith’s arm/ankle troubles? No….Max is not the BEST quarterback on the field…believe it!

  7. Andy

    From what Max has said about his arm and the coaching staff being careful with him, he cannot afford to land on that right shoulder again in the event a dlineman takes him down. In a few weeks the staff will determine who has earned the right. Until then we the fans have to let it play out.

  8. Larry Pup

    I said it after the spring game and I still say it, Whitlow will be the starting QB come 8/31 against Western. I would also not be surprised to see Phillips stock rise. I like Max, but I worry about his health. Towles is a competitor, he will see action at some point this year.

  9. TimA

    I’m on the Reese Phillips bandwagon now. Not convinced that Whitlow should be the man. Sure he can make 3 or 4 plays a game with his legs but will that be enough to make us competitive in the SEC. I need to see if his arm will hold up when passing 40 to 50 times a game and can he complete passes when a play breaks down instead of always running. Our receiver core is going to more plentiful than expected and I think we should still be a lot more pass oriented. Afterall this is supposed to be the Air Raid. I really like Max, but his shoulder may be done. Towles’s release is still too slow for a system where you have to get the pass off in a little over 2 seconds. Also with Whitlow at Qb we will be more ground oriented and more likely to sustain an injury. I hope Reese at least gets the number 2 spot on the depth chart.

  10. Andy

    My gut feeling is Whitlow. He has moved the offense during the spring games and practice and has the confidence but we won’t know till a couple more intense practices as to who has earned their keeps.

  11. David

    I do not care who starts as long as they find a way to put points on the board and I think the coaches will pick who is best to do just that.

    These coaches have impressed me so far, I think these coaches want to win and will play the guy who give us the best chance to compete for a win each game.

    Looking for Kentucky to shock some people this year because I think the defense will be 10 times better than last year and I think the offense will catch fire as the season goes on. Winning can be contagious! I am all about winning and want them to be victorious. Go Cats!!!

  12. ukscat

    I remember an interview with Smiths high school coach. He spoke of Max’s arm being as strong as any QB coming out of SoCal in the last ten years. If he has lost that power and zip maybe he should have considered surgery. I’m no physics major but a right handed QB hit from the blindside tends land on his right side ( and shoulder ). It’s not a matter of if, but when. I feel so bad for this kid – – such a gentleman.

  13. JC

    I am from East Tennessee and I have watched Phillips play in several different venues. Do not be surprised in RP takes the job away from all of them. He is built perfect for the Air Raid Air. If he is not a starter in two years he will be at a big time school leading the way.(Transfer)

    1. larryvaught

      JC, thanks for the update on Phillips. Know he is doing far better than UK coaches anticipated to this point

  14. Ira


    I’m a premium member at another site (Rivals) they are not mentioning drop off in strength. Everyone is concerned about the shoulder. But the coaches are not.

    As a fan I am concerned as well, but if he is going to be the QB the coaches choose, I’m for it. If Whitlow, or Towles, I’m behind them as well. I’ll let the coaching staff choose, not me, fans, former players etc. yes it does bring info, but how the info comes can also bring controversy something this staff has really and I mean really tried to keep from happening this year at this spot.

  15. Larry Pup

    The question that comes to mind is, how are they going to keep all of these highly touted qb’s happy next year, Whitlow, Towles, Phillips, and of course Barker? It is a good problem to have.

  16. ScottA

    I think the job will be Whitlows after listening to the media and coaches praise of him. If Jalen has not improved tremendously over last year then this is going to be a long year. I was at the spring game, and the best QB that day was Phillips, personally I’d like to see him or Towles get the job. I can not get Whitlow’s horrid play out of my head, here’s to hoping that was due more to a lack of a good coaching staff than the kid. I’m really excited about this year and will be happy with 4-5 wins, and a fun offense. Go Cats!

  17. Henry

    It will be good for the entire BBN to have a QB and no longer have this topic. It has been many long months of reading article after article, many with no substance, just opinions of people who obviously like one QB better than another.

    Fan night was exciting and a must for voicing an opinion. There were some great plays by all QBs and some great plays by WRs, and great QB/WR TD combinations, but no news crew apparently charted the QB/WR hook ups. I imagine the UK coaching staff and WKU representatives on hand charted the action.

  18. UKFan

    IMO…This staff will go with their guys once they start getting them on campus. I think they may give Barker a year to learn, but after that I think the job will be his. So I think Towles likely will be asked to move on if he doesn’t win the job this year. I think the staff will be willing to live with ups and downs this year. I also think what a QB did in the past will have little bearing on who wins the job, so it’ll either be Whitlow or Phillips.

  19. Ira

    Who said once QB’s were born to transfer. Think someone doesn’t get the starting job this year I can see 1 leaving myself, possibly 2. It just depends on who ups and transfers first. Can’t see one being the backup for 4 yrs and another having the job twice only to lose it do to a new staff. Probably totally wrong but that is my take.

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