Monday’s football news & notes



The Quarterbacks

UK starting quarterback Maxwell Smith missed last Saturday’s game against Florida after reaggrivating an injury to the AC joint in his throwing shoulder he suffered last season. Head coach Joker Phillips called Smith day-to-day in his weekly press conference on Monday, and said he won’t know until later in the week whether Smith will play in the Cats’ next game against South Carolina.

Should Smith, whose 322 passing yards per game leads the SEC in 2012, be unable to play for a second consecutive week, Phillips would have to decide between senior Morgan Newton, who started in Smith’s place against Florida, and freshman Jalen Whitlow as to who would assume the quarterback duties. Phillips said Whitlow has been the team’s No. 2 quarterback since the Louisville game in week one, but said the freshman was not prepared to take his first career snaps on the road against a ranked opponent like Florida. While Phillips would not name a definitive backup to Smith for Saturday, he seemed to be leaning toward Whitlow to play at home as opposed to giving Newton his second start of the season. Last week against Florida Newton was just 8-23 passing for 60 yards, throwing for no touchdowns and three interceptions. Upon replacing Newton in the fourth quarter, Whitlow was a mere 1-6 passing for 12 yards.

Phillips also said redshirt freshman Patrick Towles, the team’s top quarterback recruit in the offseason, will not have his redshirt removed to play this season as of Monday. Phillips said he is comfortable with where Towles is at and that “in time” he would be ready to assume control of the UK offense. But for UK’s next game against South Carolina it will be Whitlow and Newton available to take snaps should Smith have to sit out another week.

Injury Report

Quarterback Max Smith is day-to-day with a strain of the AC joint in his throwing shoulder. His status for the game against South Carolina remains up in the air.

Defensive tackle Mister Cobble is listed as doubtful according to Phillips. Cobble is still recovering from infections that were the result of flu-like symptoms he played through against Western Kentucky. The infection has been treated but Cobble has still yet to return to action while he regains his strength and prepares his body to be in game-shape.

Running back CoShik Williams, right tackle Kevin Mitchell, cornerback Cartier Rice and safety Ashley Lowery are all listed as questionable according to Phillips. Williams is still recovering from a hip flexor that has sidelined him for UK’s last two games, and is listed behind Jonathan George on the depth chart for the first time all season. Should Williams be able to play against the Gamecocks, it is unlikely he would be able to handle the bulk of the carries out the backfield for UK.

Mitchell tweaked his ankle against the Gators, but according to Phillips is likely to play Saturday. His backup, senior Trevino Woods, would play in Mitchell’s place should the junior be unable to go, but Woods is suffering from an ankle injury of his own. If both Mitchell and Woods are forced to sit out against South Carolina, freshman tackle Jordan Swindle would assume the duties at right tackle in what would be his first career start.

Rice is suffering from a thigh bruise that kept him from even making the trip to Gainesville over the weekend. He is listed behind freshman Cody Quinn, who started in Rice’s place against Florida, on this week’s depth chart. It seems likely Quinn will get the start at cornerback again this week alongside senior Martavius Neloms.

Lowery came out of the game against Florida with concussion-like symptoms. That injury is now being referred to as a “head injury” and Lowery is reportedly not suffering from a concussion, but it remains to be seen what his status will be for Saturday’s game. Like Smith, he will be evaluated late in the week to determine if he will be able to play against the Gators.

Upcoming schedule

Saturday’s game against South Carolina marks the beginning of a long stretch of games in Commonwealth Stadium for the Cats. UK will play five of its next six games at home beginning this Saturday with the Gamecocks before spending the last two weeks of the regular season on the road.

The game against South Carolina is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m. EST, and it was announced Monday that the following week UK’s matchup with Mississippi State will begin at 12:21 p.m. EST and will be televised on the SEC Network. Both games are home games for the Cats.