The Kentucky Wildcats may be keeping things pretty much the same on offense this coming week when they take on Vanderbilt.
The same being Patrick Towles still the starting quarterback and running back Boom Williams back in the starting lineup as well. There was and still is enough concern around the QB position that head coach Mark Stoops may be willing to give backup Drew Barker some playing time this week, but isn't ready to commit to that during Monday's press conference.
Because UK is going against a strong Vanderbilt defense that presents multiple fronts that's hard for any QB to read, Stoops said it would be hard to prepare a first-time starter to go against them. Stoops did say "We’ll see this week" when asked if he would end up making a QB change, but also was non-committal enough that it won't be surprising to see either QB start and/or play this week.
Against Georgia this past week, Towles completed just 8 of 21 passes for 96 yards and threw two interceptions with no touchdowns in a game that was only 10-3 in favor of the Dawgs at halftime. The 96 yards were the fewest in any of Towles’ 21 career starts. He now has thrown 12 interceptions and nine touchdowns on the season. The Cats were also was held to under 200 total yards for just the third time in Mark Stoops' three years in Lexington era and the first time since 2013 against Alabama. The 101 passing yards were the second smallest of Stoops' tenure, so some kind of change has to be made to the offense.
As for Williams, Stoops said the star back should be back this week as he deals with an elbow injury. Boom will likely have to wear a brace on his elbow to protect it, but should be able to play with it. Stoops said Saturday that there was a good chance Boom returned this week against Vanderbilt after missing last week, so it looks like there is a great chance the he plays vs Vandy.
In the five games Boom has started and finished, the Cats have averaged 399 yards of total offense. In the four games Boom either didn't play in or didn't finish, UK averaged just 320.5 yards of total offense. He's a game-changer in this offense, and his health will go a long way in deciding if UK makes a bowl.