Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
With the news that Maxwell Smith is out indefinitely and requires surgery on a torn ankle ligament, Mississippi St. is trying to figure out how to prepare for Kentucky's offense.
There are no positives in losing Maxwell Smith to injury. Let's get that out of the way right now. But it does create some problems for the Mississippi St. Bulldogs, namely they have no idea what to expect from a Smith-less Kentucky offense.
Obviously, if UK were going to put Morgan Newton behind center, they would have a clue. Unfortunately for Newton, he struggled so much down in The Swamp versus the Florida Gators that his days as a UK quarterback have now officially ended, which means that all the tape that exists on freshman starter Jalen Whitlow is a few plays down in Florida and 61 snaps in the game between Kentucky and the South Carolina Gamecocks.
In addition, Joker Phillips has intimated that highly-touted freshman Patrick Towles will also be seeing time under center, and as far as I know, the only tape on him is from his high-school days, which means that Mississippi St. will have absolutely no idea what to expect when he's in the game. According to John Clay:
Whitlow did play 61 snaps last Saturday in the Cats’ 38-17 loss to South Carolina. Towles has been quarterbacking the Kentucky scout team, so the MSU coaches have been digging up game tape from the Mr. Football’s high school days at Ft. Thomas Highlands.
That's really not much of an advantage, though, when you offset that with the fact that neither of these true freshman quarterbacks knows the full playbook, and neither of them has played enough snaps to be considered a major threat, sight unseen. So while MSU may not be able to prepare for them per se, they have plenty of tape on the Kentucky offense itself, and even though it will look different under the two freshmen than it did under Smith, it's not likely to be nearly as potent.
At this point, though, anonymity and lack of tape is about the only advantage UK has at the quarterback position this week. Every other metric is a disadvantage compared to the production that the Wildcats were able to create when Smith was in the lineup, at least on paper.
The Wildcats will just have to hope that somehow, it's enough.