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Jalen Whitlow makes his case to be starting QB with impressive Blue-White play

Click on the photo of Jalen Whitlow to view the video.

Click on the photo of Jalen Whitlow to view the video.


LEXINGTON — He’s not ready to say who should be the starting quarterback, but even coach Mark Stoops could not deny that sophomore Jalen Whitlow did his best to stake his claim to that spot with his play in Saturday’s Blue-White Game.

“Jalen did a nice job. He has that dimension to run the football and pull it down and create,” said Stoops. “He did a nice job tonight. I was impressed with the way he played.”

Whitlow easily had the best numbers in his continuing battle with Maxwell Smith and Patrick Towles. He was 17-for-29 passing for 193 yards and two scores and ran seven times for 49 yards. He hit A.J. Legree with a 16-yard scoring pass and Demarcus Sweat with a scoring toss of the same distance.

Smith was 11 of 18 for 108 yards and one score while Towles was just 6-for-14 for 65 yards and one score, but he also threw the game’s only interception.

Stoops said he felt the quarterback play “was solid again” and that each player “had their moments” during the game that ended spring practice.

“It’s not always on the quarterbacks. It’s about the other guys with them,” Stoops said.

The head coach said he wants players “to feel good about themselves, but it can’t be fake” and Whitlow made it clear he felt good about his play.

“I think I have improved a lot and I think I showed tonight what I can do,” Whitlow said.

Offensive coordinator Neal Brown has said he won’t name a starter until midway of preseason camp, but Stoops acknowledged that Whitlow made an impression in this game.

“I think he has earned the right to feel good about himself,” Stoops said.

However, Whitlow faces the same challenge this summer that the other quarterbacks do. “They have to work. Get with receivers and get on the same page. They have to be leaders on the field,” Stoops said.

Stoops did admit that a player’s performance in this game would carry extra weight when it comes to the depth chart, which could benefit Whitlow.

“Under the lights in a game setting, you want to see how they respond, how they play. You need playmakers to make plays when the lights come on,” Stoops said.

The coach did not see nearly enough offensive playmakers, but he said part of that was due to splitting the squad and limiting the offense’s ability to play fast due to a lack of depth.

“You did not see our offense at full strength. Our tempo was not what it has been. Part of that is numbers and being thin when we split into teams,” Stoops said. “When they are all together, they play at a higher tempo.”

Stoops said current player have to improve their playmaking skills along with incoming freshmen providing help for the offense.

“We are going to work hard to get better with guys that are here,” Stoops said. “Our incoming guys are going to help us as well. Our players will get better. They have got better and we need them to get even better.”

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  1. Alan

    I think Stoops is starting to draw attention from the “big boys”….namely Ohio State.
    I found it interesting that OSU played their spring game in Cincinnati. I realize that construction on their stadium forced them to move the game, but I can see where it’s possible that UK’s new focus on recruiting in Ohio (how many of yesterday’s visiting recruits were from that area?) is concerning enough that Urban Meyer wants to beef up the OSU presence in Cincinnati.

  2. Anonymous

    That crowd of over 50,000 for the spring game will turn a lot of heads in addition to Ohio State.

  3. Been Around...

    If you really think at this point Urban Meyer and Ohio State are concerned with UK’s presence… That’s foolish. Currently, anyone who goes to UK over OSU is because they won’t play at Ohio State. This is football, not basketball… and this season at least that’s suspect…

    1. Larry Pup

      I only have one thing to say to you “Been Around,” Thaddeus Snodgrass. He is ranked as the nation’s No. 198 junior prospect by Rivals.com. He’s the highest ranked wide receiver to commit to UK during the existence of the Rivals database Let me add that there is a story that came out about Urban Meyer and how he left the Florida program in a mess. Give Stoops time and he will own Ohio. He is from the state. It will take time. He has already stuck gold in that state. This is only the beginning. I give him about three years and he will have UK getting their fair share. You can mark it down.

      1. Larry Pup

        This kid could play anywhere if South Carolina wanted his services, including Ohio State.

  4. Cardkillah96

    Notre Damn wanted him as well.

  5. Andy

    Good for Jalen. Let the best man win the job. I am happy to hear he has improved. Great competition for Max and Towles!!

  6. TrueBlueJohn

    I was at the Spring Game, and indeed, Whitlow looked the best of the QBs. It was due mainly to his ability to make something out of a broken play.

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