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By KEITH TAYLOR, Winchester Sun
LEXINGTON — Patrick Towles is still happy to be at Kentucky.
Even though Kentucky coach Joker Phillips’ future as coach of the Wildcats became even more uncertain following a 40-0 loss to Vanderbilt Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium, the freshman quarterback made it known of his intentions of remaining at Kentucky despite a dark cloud hovering over the program.
“I came here to play and I came here to compete,” he said. “I came here so I could be on UK’s football team and I’m happy that I am here. I’m not going anywhere. We’ve just got to trust our preparation and try to win.”
Along with his pledge to stick with the program, following the contest against the Commodores, Towles also supports Phillips, who has won just one game in 10 attempts in his third season at the helm.
“Coach Phillips is our head coach and we want to win with him,” he said. “We’re going to do whatever we can to make sure we that we’re not struggling anymore. He’s our head coach and his coaching staff right now and we need to win for them.”
Towles added that his teammates felt the same way about Phillips and aren’t ready to give up on the rest of the season.
“We all love him,” Towles said. “We want to win for the coaching staff and win for him. We want to win one each other, for ourselves and for our families and our fan base. We’re trying as much as we can to put positive stuff up there (on the scoreboard) and we’re just not doing it right now.”
However, Towles knows the bottom line is winning football games, a task that has proven to be difficult for the Wildcats this season.
“We’re not winning and we need to be winning,” he said. “There’s a lot of little stuff that we need to be executing on. We have a lot of youth, but there comes a time when you need to quit using youth as an excuse and just play ball. There were a lot of little things today that I didn’t do and other people didn’t do that we have to tune-up and we have to fix if we want to compete.”
Kentucky failed to score against the Commodores, once considered a dormant in the Southeastern Conference. Towles shouldered some of the blame for the team’s lack of execution against Vandy, especially on the offensive end.
“We obviously didn’t play as well as we needed to win the football game,” Towles said. “We’ve just got to keep going back to work and trust our work, preparation and get ready to go. We’ve got to get ready for Samford.”
Towles also understands the frustration of the fans, but added that losing games aren’t planned on a weekly basis.
“We play for the fans and everything like that, but we play for each other,” he said. “We’re all there in January and February and we’re there in the summer. The fans aren’t out there in January. We love them to death and we do, but when it comes down to it, we’re playing for our coaching staff and we’re playing in the SEC, but we’re playing to win.”
As uncertainty over Phillips’ fate looms larger, Towles isn’t worried about what may happen behind the scenes during the next three weeks.
“You’ve just got to take it day-to-day,” Towles said. “As a player, you really have no control over what goes on or what’s happening in the hierarchy, but we have to take what we’ve got and we’re going to do all we can to win for coach Phillips, because he’s our head coach right now. We all came here to play for him. We all didn’t anticipate that we would lose this many games, but we have to continue to prepare, continue to play hard and get some positive stuff on the scoreboard.”
Just as it has been in the team’s previous eight setbacks, Towles said the Cats didn’t take the blanking to Vandy lightly.
“The locker room after a loss is never good,” he said. “It hasn’t been all year, but we’re really trying to keep (our heads up), because it’s hard losing this many games. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, but we have to continue to prepare again and again and execute some stuff so we can start moving in a positive direction.”