By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Monday that “ everything has checked out OK to this point” on injured quarterback Jalen Whitlow going into Saturday night’s season-ending game against Tennessee..
Stoops said UK is still “working through” the starting quarterback’s status for the game.
“He’s gotten an MRI, went to a specialist. Everything seems fine at this point,” Stoops said Monday. “So we’ll see how he progresses through the week. There’s nothing major wrong with him, so hopefully he’ll be able to play. If not, we’ll prepare to play with Max (Smith).”
Whitlow has a problem with his left, non-throwing shoulder, but Stoops says that is “not the main issue” with Whitlow.
“He’s got some spasms going on in his neck,” the UK coach said.
Stoops wasn’t sure what he was going to do at Georgia last week if Smith went down after he took over for Whitlow. The coach asked UK athletics trainer Jim Madeleno if Whitlow could “ just hand it off and try to get out of that game” if Smith was hurt.
“I did consider putting (freshman) Reese (Phillips) in the game when Jalen got hurt, but that wouldn’t have been a wise decision. But emotionally, I was a little bit frustrated and thinking about it,” Stoops said. “And part of me, as I said earlier in other press conferences, I would’ve liked to have seen Reese just to see where we’re going, what he had in a game. You see it in practice and all those things, but again that wouldn’t have been a wise decision (to burn his redshirt year).
“So we were going with Max. I wanted to go back to Jalen and hand off to get out of that game, but if the doctors told me he could not go then I would’ve had to play Reese.”
Two years ago UK faced Tennessee without a healthy quarterback and receiver Matt Roark played quarterback and led UK to a win.
“All options are open to get a victory, believe me,” Stoops laughed and said.