With the season opener less than a week away, the Kentucky Wildcats have not named a starting quarterback, nor do they plan to make such an announcement before Saturday’s game against Western Kentucky in Nashville.
Head coach Mark Stoops said he didn’t see a point in naming a starter for the game. Offensive coordinator Neal Brown feels the same way, saying “why would we tell Western?”
It appears that both Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow will play in the opener. There is apparently no rotation set in stone, because the coaches have said that if one of the two sophomores gets hot, they might keep him in the game. While the media is not a fan of the non-announcement, it’s probably a smart thing to do. This will be Stoops’ first game as a head coach, and the more he can give Western Kentucky to think about, the better.
Not naming a starter will make the Hilltoppers prepare for both Smith and Whitlow. Smith is a pocket passer with somewhat limited mobility, while Whitlow can use his arm and his legs to beat opponents.
Smith had his struggles last season against Western Kentucky. In the 2012 game, Smith threw four interceptions despite passing for 322 yards with two touchdowns. He hopes that he does not have a repeat performance in this year’s game. Brown brings his “Air Raid” attack to Lexington, which figures to favor Smith over Whitlow. However, it appears that there is a package in place that will help Kentucky take advantage of Whitlow’s running ability.
Kentucky struggled on offense last season, something they hope won’t happen this year, no matter which quarterback is playing.