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By LARRY VAUGHT
Offensive coordinator Randy Sanders admits it has been a “tough ride” for senior quarterback Morgan Newton this year. He was coming back from shoulder surgery, lost his starting job to Maxwell Smith, did not play well when he got to start at Florida and dropped to No. 3 on the depth chart behind true freshmen Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles.
“Tremendous character. Tremendous integrity. It speaks volume about the type of family he comes from. It speaks volumes about how much he’s bought into what coach (Joker) Phillips has been selling and I’ve been selling here about being a team player,” said Sanders. “As I’ve always said, he is all about Kentucky. He wants Kentucky to win. He wants Kentucky to do better. Just to accept that role and embrace it as he has, is phenomenal. There’s not many people that could do that.”
No, there’s not. Yet Sanders seemed more than a bit miffed that Newton was late getting to last week’s game because he was taking the law school admission test. He had signed up to take the test in mid-September without having any idea what time the Mississippi State game would start. He was also not slated to play even though that situation nearly changed when Towles went down with an ankle injury.
“I can promise you it wasn’t my decision. It was not my decision. So I’m going to leave it at that. I’m not going to get into it too much,” Sanders said about Newton’s late arrival.
Shame on Sanders. Newton wants to be an attorney. His shoulder is not 100 percent based on what UK coaches have said. His name had not been mentioned to the media by a UK coach all week. And aren’t football players supposed to be student-athletes? It’s not like Newton did not get to the game. And remember, he did not play and even this week Sanders is giving almost all the quarterback reps to Whitlow even though Newton is the only other experienced quarterback who is healthy enough to play if needed at Arkansas this Saturday.
So what happens if Whitlow goes down and Newton’s shoulder limits what he can do?
“We will do what Morgan can do, and obviously the shoulder not being completely healed is going to limit it a little bit. But he can still do a lot of things throwing,” Sanders said. “He has his comfort zone and we have to stay within that comfort zone as much as we can.”