By LARRY VAUGHT
Jalen Whitlow is ready to play, but Maxwell Smith will still be the starting Kentucky quarterback when the Wildcats play at Mississippi State Thursday night.
That’s what coach Mark Stoops said after practice Tuesday. Whitlow was injured on the second series of UK’s loss to No. 1 Alabama two weeks ago and Smith has taken most of the reps with the No. 1 unit while Whitlow was down.
“He’ll be ready to go if we need him. Again, I think Max got most of the reps last week and this week, but Jalen will be ready to go. We’ll use him if we need to,” said Stoops. “He got his reps and looked fine.”
Stoops would not elaborate when asked if Whitlow was part of the game plan — Smith and Whitlow both played in UK’s first four games — or if he would play only if Smith was hurt or ineffective.
“I mean, I’m giving you guys (in the media) a lot right there, give me some credit. I said Max is starting and Jalen will be ready, and we’ll use him if needed. Does anything else need to be said really? We’ve got other players on this team, too,” Stoops said.
Stoops did acknowledge that freshman quarterback Reese Phillips and sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles will both travel to Starkville. Stoops is hoping to redshirt both of them this year.
“We’ve been bringing them all year,” the UK coach said and added that the help “us with hand signals and different things” during games.
Stoops did try to put an end to rumors that UK would be wearing new uniforms for the ESPN game.
“I don’t know where these whispers come from. No. They’re not, I promise. No. One of the players even asked me. I said, ‘I don’t even know where the gray uniforms are. We don’t have gray uniforms. I haven’t seen them,’” Stoops said. “Let’s stick to this game. I’m just worried about this game here right now. And, hey guys, this is a typical Thursday for me, so I get to go home; my son is playing a basketball game right now, so let’s get on it.”