Breaking Bad: Injuries create QB, secondary problems

Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Jalen Whitlow (13) during the second half of the University of Kentucky vs. Mississippi State football game at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky., on Saturday, October 6, 2012. Photo by Tessa Lighty | Staff

By Cody Porter
Cporter@kykernel.com

Another game, another loss for the Cats.

Again it came from the team taking on a top-25 opponent, but the injury bug is beginning to get a bit excessive.

Even if UK meets an opponent it may be able to play up to, the team is so depleted it’s further set back than anything head coach Joker Phillips prepared for.

Upon seeing what has happened to Arkansas during the season, this game has gone from a certain loss to possible win for the Cats.

However, injuries to both squads have an impending stalemate in the works.

1. Injuries

Freshman quarterback Patrick Towles was supposed to be the answer. He was UK’s next golden-armed quarterback. Saturday he displayed his talents on one drive. The ensuing drive showed his ankle isn’t so golden as he scrambled away from defenders, resulting in a chilling turn of his ankle when taken to the ground.

The result of Towles’ injury is him definitely not taking the field against Arkansas.

At Monday’s press conference, Phillips proceeded to list more injuries, which seemingly was the majority of his secondary. “(Martavius) Neloms is day-to-day. Mikie Benton is day-to-day. (Ashely) Lowery is day-to-day. And then Brown, Kory Brown is day-to-day.”

With so many injuries, the Cats are bordering dangerous territory, as the season could go from bad to worse with what is still remaining on the Cats’ schedule.

2. Secondary

UK’s secondary, now vaulted by freshmen, has been producing a questionable product all season long.

Saturday UK played five freshmen as result of injuries.

The 269 passing yards posted by the Mississippi State Bulldogs is the most against any opponent in the team’s five wins this season. Keep in mind they also have played Jackson State, Troy and South Alabama.

Defensive backs coach Mike Cassity will need to see his veteran members get back to full health so that the pass-heavy teams approaching on their schedule don’t make the numbers more phenomenal than they should be.

3. Quarterback

Smith is out. Towles is injured. Newton isn’t a viable option. That leaves the Cats with a banged-up Jalen Whitlow to run the team.

Whitlow hasn’t played poorly, but teams should be able to expect what’s coming, given what they’ve seen from him in recent weeks.

He has yet to show he can be a consistent threat through the air. His running game is threatening from time to time, but he isn’t enough of a total package to make opponents worry.