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More Issues For UK: QB Frustrated, Suspension Possible For Safety

The Kentucky offense is at its best — and we use that term loosely — when quarterback Maxwell Smith is throwing the ball over the yard.  The Wildcats entered Saturday’s game with Florida as the league’s top-rated passing offense.  Unfortunately, Smith threw four picks in his 60 attempts against Western Kentucky two weeks ago and Morgan Newton — poor, poor Morgan Newton — was Gatorbait this past weekend when he had to fill in for the banged-up Smith in Gainesville.

Making matters worse, Patrick Towles’ dad is talking.  Towles is a Kentucky native.  He’s a true freshman quarterback who set passing records in high school and is viewed by many Big Blue fans as the next Tim Couch.  Now four games into his first season with the team, his pop is popping off to let everyone know his son wants to play ASAP.

Terry Towles passive-aggressively told The Louisville Courier-Journal yesterday:

 

“We are not looking into anything like (transferring) at this point at all.  Patrick dearly wants to contribute to the University of Kentucky and he wants to do it now, but as far as transferring, we’ve not made any decisions on that…

All Patrick has ever wanted is just an opportunity to compete, and I think there is some definite frustrations over that.  He wants to contribute.  He came to the University of Kentucky because he thought he could immediately help.  And he’s frustrated.  But he’s staying positive.  I’ve talked to someone who sees practice, and he’s going at it full-tilt and working hard.”

 

By sharing his son’s frustrations with the media it seems that papa might be a little frustrated with matters his own self, no?  Matter of fact, the more the senior Towles opened up, the more clear it became that he was firing a warning shot toward UK’s coaching staff:

 

“Patrick has always been about one thing, and that’s winning — winning now.  He’s not concerned about playing part of one year, taking  away a year of eligibility.  He’s not concerned about that at all.  He wants to play now.  Right now…

(If he doesn’t) We’ll make determinations later in the year, but I know he wants nothing more than to be at the University of Kentucky.  We’ll see how this season continues to play out.  If we feel this program is headed in the right direction, then Patrick — I know — certainly wants to be a part of it.”

 

Hmmm.  Patrick’s frustrated and Patrick wants to be a part of the UK team, but “we” will see how things go and “we” will make determinations later in the year.  Interesting.  (For the record, I’m personally not a big fan of players’ parents opening their traps.  It usually just causes more trouble for a team/coaching staff and puts more pressure on the player/son.)

Meanwhile, embattled — “doomed” might be a more fitting term — head coach Joker Phillips announced after the second game of the season that he planned to redshirt Towles which was the exact opposite of what he’d initially said he’d do.  (Wow, a coach that promised to play a recruit and then decided to redshirt him instead?  Whodathunkit?)

Now Phillips is being backed into a corner by a dwindling UK fanbase who want someone like Towles to be excited about and a player and/or his dad who are demanding playing time “right now.”

For Phillips, it’s probably a lose-lose situation.  If he doesn’t play Towles, his father could eventually issue a “him or us” ultimatum to UK AD Mitch Barnhart via the media.  If he does throw a true freshman into the SEC fire, it’s likely Phillips’ record will look even worse at season’s end… which could also seal his fate.

And speaking of losses, the Cats could also lose safety Mikie Benton for a week if the SEC office decides that his Saturday helmet-to-helmet hit on defenseless Florida pass-catcher Jordan Reed is worthy of a suspension.  The play did draw a flag:

 

Florida's Jordan Reed makes the great catch and loses his helmet

 

We await a decision from the SEC on Benton.

We await further complaining from Towles’ father, too.

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SEC Headlines – 10/21/11 Part Two

1.  Florida is hoping to heal up this weekend before facing Georgia next Saturday.

2.  Georgia has been settling for a lot of field goals this year… and Blair Walsh hasn’t been as accurate as usual.

3.  Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton is trying to remain positive.

4.  Jadeveon Clowney’s potential at South Carolina is no laughing matter.

5.  Tennessee needs a big day from its defense at Alabama tomorrow.

6.  Vanderbilt will face an Army quarterback this weekend who wanted to play for the Commodores.

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SEC Headlines – 10/12/11 Part One

Due to a trip to the doctor this afternoon, we’re going to go a little skimpy on the headlines today.  Sorry ’bout that but we’ll be posting a rather lengthy piece tonight to make up for it.

Until then, here are the top stories from around the conference:


1.  Quarterback Jeff Driskel was back at practice for Florida yesterday.

2.  Backup linebacker Dee Finley is planning to transfer from the Gator program.

3.  Mark Richt hopes the best is yet to come for Georgia’s improved defense.  (And now I’ll have this in my head all day.)

4.  Could the Dawgs be going to more of a ball control approach?

5.  Linebacker Alec Ogletree was back at practice for UGA yesterday (in a green no-contact jersey).

6.  Kentucky offensive coordinator Randy Sanders says he gave Morgan Newton a hug to help console the downtrodden QB.

7.  With tailback Josh Clemons now out for the year with a knee injury, UK has lost its most productive weapon.

8.  Tony Barnhart says yesterday wasn’t one of Steve Spurrier’s better days.

9.  Darrin Horn isn’t worried about positions, he just wants his five best players to be on the floor this season.

10.  Derek Dooley says freshman Tennessee linebacker AJ Johnson is a baller.

11.  The Vols’ coach doesn’t expect his team’s running game to suddenly turn a corner.

12.  Vanderbilt’s secondary has been getting the spotlight, but linebacker Chris Marve is off to a strong start, too.

13.  The Dores’ offense is last in the nation in third down conversion percentage.

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SEC Headlines – 8/18/11 Part One

1.  Florida’s players say there’s no internal strife in Gainesville this year.

2.  The spread-option may be gone, but the Wildcat lives on at UF.

3.  The strength and conditioning coach for the Gator basketball team has left for a job with the San Antonio Spurs.

4.  Georgia has lost another body in Jakar Hamilton, but at least the Dawgs have built some depth at safety.

5.  Isaiah Crowell is closer to returning to action than Richard Samuel.

6.  Egads!  UGA’s not in the Sports Illustrated’s preseason Top 25.

7.  Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton is listening to advice from ex-QBs Tee Martin and Andre Woodson.

8.  Learning Rick Minter’s new defense is “an upper-level course.”

9.  UK hoopster Darius Miller and Team USA moved to 5-0 in the World University Game yesterday.

10.  South Carolina quarterback candidate Connor Shaw looked good in last night’s scrimmage, until he dislocated his thumb.

11.  True freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney had a pair of sacks, a forced fumble and a touchdown. 

12.  Tennessee has plenty of options in its secondary.

13.  Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox says freshman Curt Maggitt is “a linebacker and he’s pass-rusher.”  And he admits there aren’t too many guys like that.

14.  Vol strength coach Ron McKeefery wants the weight room “to be the nerve center of the entire operation.”

15.  Receiver Jordan Matthews brings big play potential to Vanderbilt’s offense.

16.  James Franklin says his players must treat football like a job.  “They’re going to have to wake up every single morning and go earn it.”

17.  VU defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff — who served at Miami for the last three years — isn’t talking about the Yahoo! Sports report.

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SEC Headlines 8/6/2011

1. The lone returning starter among Tennessee’s front seven – Malik Jackson – sprains his right knee.

2. Tennessee’s Marlon Walls is in his third position since high school. Fullback Channing Fugate can block, run and catch passes.

3. Alabama’s Duron Carter - not eligible yet. He’s not the only wide receiver to be missing practice at Alabama.

4. Despite diminishing depth in the backfield, coach Nick Saban says the Tide still has options.

5. Saban is not happy with the media: “Every day, I’m going to post something that’s just total B.S.”

6. How would Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray grade his freshman year?: “If I had to grade myself on my performance, I’d give myself a C, at best,”

7. Redshirt freshman Ken Malcome an option in the backfield for the Georgia Bulldogs. Mark Richt likes what he sees from Isaiah Crowell.

8. Georgia’s T.J. Stripling continues to make progress from a serious knee injury suffered last year.

9. Practice gets underway at Ole Miss with a quarterback battle at the top of the agenda.

10. It’s a two-man battle for quarterback at Vanderbilt.

11. The football culture at Vanderbilt is changing.

12. Junior quarterback Morgan Newton is the man at Kentucky.

13. Kentucky freshmen, while off-limits to the media until after the first game, may make an impression before then.

14. Expect Auburn’s Philip Lutzenkirchen will be a focal point of the offense – in  the backfield, at wide receiver or as a tight end.

15. Is Gabe Wright the next Nick Fairley at Auburn?

16. With a 1.000 yard rusher, 1.000 yard receiver and 3,000 yard QB all returning, South Carolina becomes the first SEC team ever to pull off that trifecta.

17. South Carolina AD Eric Hyman, rumored to be a possible candidate at Tennessee, gets a $75,000 raise.

18. LSU shows support for assistant coach Steve Kragthorpe who revealed this week he has Parkinson’s disease. Flooded with well wishes from fans.

19. New Tigers offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa: “Our MO is going to stay exactly the same.”

20. LSU sophomore Tharold Simon will anchor one of the cornerback spots for the Tigers.

21. For the third straight year, Jarrett Lee will enter fall as Jordan Jefferson’s backup.

22. Florida’s Jeff Demps considered focusing on just his track career. Ditches No. 2 for No. 28.

23. Florida’s Lerentee McCray will play the “buck” position – part linebacker, part defensive end.

24. Will Muschamp: “I’m excited about getting on the field and coaching.” Overlooked Gators use disrespect as motivational tool.

25. “Florida is young and largely inexperienced. It will take time for this group to find its identity and, most important, special leaders.”

26. Thanks to Charlie Weis, John Brantley’s confidence is back.

27. Arkansas has put an emphasis on recruiting bigger athletes. “We want tall, long, athletic kids.” 

28. Two more dates known on the Razorbacks non-conference basketball schedule.

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Kentucky Adds Two Defensive Lineman To 2012 Class

Kentucky has received a commitment from defensive end Langston Newton from Carmel (Ind.) High School.

Langston, the younger brother of Wildcats starting quarterback Morgan Newton, chose Kentucky over offers from Purdue, Bowling Green, Marshall, Miami of Ohio, Arkansas State and Western Kentucky.

Newton tweeted the following Thursday night: “I’m headed to the University of Kentucky #gocats.”

Morgan’s presence on Kentucky’s campus appeared to be a factor for Langston Newton. But it wasn’t everything he considered.

“They are a pretty close-knit family so that might seem like the perfect scenario,” Carmel coach Kevin Wright told the Indianapolis Star. “But I know Langston is his own person and he had an offer from Ohio State in track and field. It was interesting to see how it went back and forth through the summer on what he wanted to do.”

Kentucky also received a commitment from defensive end Tyrone Pearson from Seneca High School in Louisville, Ky.

Pearson, who was previously committed to Louisville, also tried to give a pledge to Central Florida. That commitment wasn’t accepted by Central Florida because he hadn’t visited the campus, according to ESPN.com.

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SEC Headlines – 4/14/11 Part One

1.  Tony Barnhart says Will Muschamp is a man with a plan.

2.  Florida has become the new cradle of coaches according to this writer.  (Not be confused with Billy Idol’s Cradle of Love.)

3.  Mark Richt says Georgia will “have to be at midseason form to compete” with Boise State in the Dawgs’ opener.

4.  It sounds like Isaiah Crowell will still have a good shot to be UGA’s starting tailback when he arrives on campus.

5.  Linebacker Danny Trevathan surprised a lot of folks when he announced he would return to UK.

6.  Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton is ready to lead.

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SEC Headlines – 4/8/11 Part Three

1.  Four Kentucky basketballers will take their time before making NBA decisions.

2.  UK’s big-armed freshman quarterback Maxwell Smith says he’s so far behind starter Morgan Newton in knowing the Cats’ offense that “it’s not even funny.”

3.  This writer says benching Stephen Garcia is the best option at South Carolina.

4.  This writer says the Gamecocks are “not as united” in their support of Garcia as a few tweets might’ve indicated.  (Great read from Travis Haney of The Charleston Post & Courier.)

5.  Cuonzo Martin says Top 50 player Chris Jones no longer wants a release from his signed letter of intent at Tennessee.

6.  Receiver Justin Hunter is working on his short routes to go along with his long-ball game.

7.  This writer says Vol fans should hope for slight progress in Derek Dooley’s second season.

8.  James Franklin wants Vanderbilt to hold another scrimmage tomorrow… if his team isn’t too beat up to do it.

9.  If you aren’t familiar with Vandy’s new coach yet, here’s video of him talking about yesterday’s practice.

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