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Former UK quarterback Jared Lorenzen not sure why Randy Sanders and Patrick Towles did not click, believes Towles can be great SEC QB

UK quarterback Patrick Towles leaves the field after Kentucky's loss at Tennessee Saturday. (Victoria Graff photo)

UK quarterback Patrick Towles leaves the field after Kentucky’s loss at Tennessee Saturday. (Victoria Graff photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Since he didn’t always see eye-to-eye with every offensive coordinator he had, former Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen had no trouble sensing there was a disconnect between freshman quarterback Patrick Towles and offensive coordinator Randy Sanders and even coach Joker Phillips this season.

“I don’t think they got along really well. The coaching change can only be good for him,” said Lorenzen, who helped coach Towles at Highlands.

Towles, Kentucky’s 2011 Mr. Football, came to UK expecting to contend for the starting job. Instead, he quickly found himself taking snaps with the scout team and eventually was placed fourth on the depth chart by sophomore Maxwell Smith, senior Morgan Newton and fellow freshman Jalen Whitlow. Only when Smith injured his ankle in the fifth game and Newton was ineffective due in part to last season’s shoulder injury did Kentucky offer to let Towles play. He gladly gave up his redshirt year, but got hurt his first game after directing an 80-yard scoring drive on his first series.

He finished the season completing 19 of 40 passes in five games for 233 yards and one score with one interception. Whitlow played in 10 games and was 87 for 161 passing for 801 yards and three scores with two interceptions and ran for 206 yards and three scores. In three games, Smith threw for 975 yards and eight scores by completing 103 of 150 throws with four interceptions.

Lorenzen often disagreed with offensive coordinator Brent Pease during his time at UK under coach Hal Mumme. Then two even exchanged Twitter taunts before this year’s Florida-Kentucky game (Pease is Florida’s offensive coordinator).

“I don’t know what happened with Patrick and Sanders. Based on what I could see on the sidelines and the way they interacted — or didn’t interact — it was obvious something was wrong,” Lorenzen said. “It was like a bad couple relationship and now they are each going their own way.”

Lorenzen laughed he had one coordinator (Pease) meet him before he got off the field to point out his mistakes. However, he said he had not seen an offensive coordinator walk away from quarterbacks the way Sanders did at times when he would go to one 30-yard line and leave Towles and other quarterbacks at the other 30 after Towles came out of a game.

“Brent and I would yell and scream and then it was done. I never had a coordinator walk away from me,” Lorenzen said. “We never let it carry over to the next series. That’s not fair to the team and why I’ve never seen coaches at one 30 and the quarterbacks at the other 30.”

Last week Sanders said there was “no question who the best one is” when asked about the quarterback and said he would have a “hard time believing” Smith would not be the starting quarterback next year unless the new head coach has a different offensive philosophy than Sanders and Phillips.

While Sanders’ comment upset some, it did not bother Lorenzen.

“I was hoping Max would play this whole year and then have a competition with Patrick next year,” Lorenzen said. “Even if he had to sit behind Max a year or two, he could learn and come in after he leaves. That’s the way it works at most SEC schools. Max was playing really well before he was hurt. Now it will be a three-person race next year for anybody that wants the job. It’s just who steps up the fastest and how Max comes back from that ankle injury. As much of a Patrick fan as I am, I think Max deserves his fair chance next year based on what he was doing this year.”

If Smith had stayed healthy, Towles would still have four years of eligibility instead of three. Lorenzen thinks he may “regret” not redshirting even though Towles, who missed the second of Saturday’s loss to Tennessee when he was “dinged up” after a sideline hit, made it clear he wanted to play.

“I thought it would be best for him to redshirt, and told him that adamantly,” Lorenzen said. “He got in a half a game, then got hurt. He probably does regret playing to some extent. But he did get some good experience and there is nothing better than game reps. He did learn, but I still wish he had a full four years left.”

Can he be a high level SEC quarterback?

“I know he can. We have talked about it. I just told him to put his head down and go,” Lorenzen said. “Heal that ankle and make sure you get 100 percent. Take time off to do that.

“But nobody will go into spring practice with a new coach with the job. Now it is a fight with Jalen also definitely in the mix. But I have full confidence in Patrick that he can be a great SEC quarterback. Nothing that happened this year changed my mind about that,” Lorenzen said.

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/jared-lorenzen-not-sure-why-sanders-and-towles-did-not-click-believes-towles-can-be-great-sec-qb/

26 comments

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  1. Ciprian Zisu

    I hope I am wrong on this… But I THINK that when as a staff member, you know you are about to get canned, so to speak, it is hard to get anything accomplished, especially getting behind a freshman QB. Look for the next coach to give Towles a much harder look.

  2. eddie

    i love it when a player gives fans a backstage pass to what is happening

    1. RJ

      Just remember that this back stage pass is seen through the prism of Jarad Lorenzen’s eyes. Hardly an objective observer. He spent a lot of time coaching Towles up and he wants the kid to do well.

  3. Ira

    They’ll give them all hard looks, but unless its a certain offensive mentality where they want to get creative with Whitlow, Maxwell Smith is the more accurate QB. Still knows the offense better. He’ll be the starter and should be.

    The RS should have never came off Towles. This staff burnt way to many this year trying to save their sorry butts and look where it got us no where.

    1. Ira

      I’m just going to say one more thing, I was so tired of our coaching staff going on about how we were so young out there having to play so many freshmen in so many positions. TCU was younger than us. They started more freshmen than we did. Didn’t seem to affect them nearly as bad as us. All about coaching.

      1. Sporty

        Yeah, that “we’re young” line wore very thin, very quickly. When you have an experienced QB right in front of you and you move that QB to WR at the start of the season, you cooked your own goose, imo. Neither of the FR should have burned their RS. The staff threw in the towel on this year practically before the season started, but definitely after Smith got injured. Playing QB shuffle was a bad idea at the end as well, as neither could get in a rhythm.
        That brings me to another issue. The QBs that improvised or called plays on their own that were not sanctioned by the staff, were relegated to the doghouse very quickly and fairly permanently. There was no room to “rise above that and perform” as the next comment suggests. There was a line drawn that players could not question much less cross when it came to the offense. From what others have told me, this was a huge problem that prevented the staff from adapting much to personnel strengths. You could see it in the regression of some talented QBs and skill position players.

      2. Eric

        Seems like every year we were so young, but that was going to pay off next year when those young guys had game experience. Maybe now that will actually happen?

  4. RJ

    I’ve heard from several of the past UK players that Randy Sanders can be a real horse’s A$# so this article doesn’t surprise me much. Also, it should be noted that Jarad can try the Pope’s patience as well, so you have to take “peel the onion” so to speak to get to the real story. I have stated on here that Towles didn’t look all that good at the TN game, and he didn’t, but play calling at the sideline may have something to do with that. Great QB’s rise above that and perform.

    I also think Towles made youthful indescretion by not red-shirting. And I’ve heard he as a bit of a mouth as most young people do before they learn that there is a lot that they do not know. To some extent past performances will come into play with the new coaches but only to the extent that they evaluate the “numbers”. The new coachs will also watch some film. But the QB job will be won in a competition.

    1. Mike Mc In Ky

      Towles did NOTHING WRONG in the Tennessee game, joker & randy were the horses a$$es that gave Jalen the whole game with him overthrowing the same sideline throws over, and over again, and missing the only deep throw he tried when the guy was open by 30 plus yards, and consistently blowing 3 chances in the red zone, while the game was still within reach in the 3rd quarter, so I don’t think Patrick got a fair shake from them the whole season, and especially this game! I think Jalen is NOT Randall Cobb, but should be a running back, or wide receiver to use his juke ability, he does not use his head when behind the center, and does NOT talk when he sees the blitzes coming, so he is NOT the answer as next years quarterback! That’s my opinion, what do you all think?

      1. Fan Fan

        Towels quit did u not hear? They didn’t give Whitlow anything

      2. UKFAN197TONE

        Max Smith will be the starting QB in my opinion. Then Whitlow and then Towles, in that order, barring injury.

        1. JCC

          I truly believe it will Smith, Towles with Whitlow moved to WR along with JD Harmon. The kid coming in from Chattanooga will be good enough to be a back-up. Remember our receiving corps were decimated by graduation and Sweat could be an academic casualty.

  5. john l

    I can agree with Lorenzen on one thing,Sanders walking away from his quarterbacks was a bad move.Maybe he was upset with the qbs,but he still needed to talk with them.One of the many poor coaching moves on this UK team.

    1. RJ

      Yeah. I agree. That was a real B-league move. That sort of move would have probably worked a few years ago but kids today don’t respond to it it like they did back “in the day”.

  6. Jerry S

    Patrick does not have a mouth. Nor did he get a fair shake at UK. He didnt have a spring like Max did to learn the offense and he will thrive under the new coach. Max has took his last snap under center as the starter in my opinion. I also think Whitlow will move to WR. Smith and Towles will be on the same level going into the spring and given that I fully expect Towles to win the job and be the starter in Commonwealth vs Louisville.

    1. UKFAN197TONE

      I don’t see it that way. Obviously Stoops will have the final say, but I don’t see Towles taking anything away from Max. Unless it’s a water bottle before Max runs back out on the field.

  7. grant

    This coaching change no matter who it is , is going to be a breath of fresh air. I hope none on the current coaching staff retains a job. Yuck . Sometimes after a while situations get toxic, i ‘d say this year qualifies. Clean house .

    1. Gene

      Not at all sure about your statement. There is one or two position coaches that have performed very well. Example No.1 might be the linebacker coach who has consistantly produced very good players and has sent more than one or two to the NFL the past couple of seasons. Woodyard and Trevethan play together on the same Denver Bronco team today.
      The wideout coach has also sent some very good players to the NFL going back to Steve Johnson of the Bills. They are not all to be rejected out of hand.

  8. LarryPup

    I think Max is the starter next year, but the other two have talent. Whitlow has more snaps, moves, and game experience under his belt now. They all need time to throw the ball. UK took far to many rushes and sacks this year. I was not overly impressed with our line play this year. That has to change or none of them will look all that impressive. Whitlow will be a better qb next year and seems more durable than the other two. The right coach who can judge talent, and coach could change all of this.

  9. jimlowe7

    Who knows (or cares now) why Sanders did that? Maybe Towles called different plays than he sent in or maybe he just “locked in” on primary receivers rather than looking off the defense or maybe he just ran the plays ineffectively. Or maybe Sanders’ calls caused Towles to be hit too often from OL or RB missing blocks. Towles has a clean slate now and can show up in the spring in shape while knowing the new playbook and saying “Yes, sir” to whomever the OC will be.

  10. Eric

    “unless the new head coach has a different offensive philosophy than Sanders and Phillips.”

    Lord, hear our prayer…

  11. Pacman

    Only comment is there is a reason Sanders is no longer coaching at UT…

  12. Fan Fan

    Mike Mac you must be a towles camp guy. Your boy towels may be a good kid but he’s not that good. Just think he was beat out by a QB from a running high school program that didn’t throw the ball. He didn’t even have much experience throwing so this was all new. Now he has a lot and will be 100% better next season. On the other hand towels had been trained all his life by NFL and d1 QBs. Tell me who has the upside next yr. And by the way towels got scared after a little sideline hit. He will never beat out Whitlow now his best chance was in the spring. May want to tell him to transfer just saying

    1. Sporty

      “Tell him to transfer” ? This is what is wrong with fans… No respect for people.

  13. Fan Fan

    P.s. towels told coaches he didn’t feel comfortable going back in after the hit. That’s not sec material. He didn’t pickup the playbook as fast as Whitlow, he’s more turn over pron than Whitlow. His arm is not as fast as Whitlow.HHe’s not as fast as Whitlow. Do I need to keep going? Coaches was under pressure to play towels and he still could get ahead. The new coaches are going to care less about the home town kid only winning

  14. Jim

    I would think that each QB has a shot at being the starter. Don’t know who it will be. The old ” he knows the offense better” is out the window, because they are getting a new staff. The best of luck to all three of the young men. I hope they all come into the spring ready to compete. Count me in the camp that is very glad to see Sanders leaving. He seemed to me to publically put his QBs down in the press. He should have been the one to adapt to the youth on the team, not the other way around. Yes, he lost Smith. Don’t whine about it, move on with what you have. Sanders claiming that Smith should be the starter next season is a veiled way of stating that he would have put up big numbers with Smith all season and wouldn’t have gotten fired. I recall Smith played in the WKU game and they still lost.

    Everyone assumes that Whitlow will be a receiver. He may improve his accuracy and be the starter next season. Based on stats, Smith should be the favorite. But, players can take a huge leap from one season to the next.

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