The Kentucky Wildcats do not play on Saturday, and the week off will be welcomed by new head coach Mark Stoops and his team.
Kentucky lost to their archrivals, the Louisville Cardinals, 27-13 on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. While the UK defense did a pretty good job of containing Louisville’s Heisman Trophy candidate, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the offense was not in sync for most of the game.
Two things seemed to plague the Kentucky attack on Saturday. First, the receiving corps dropped several passes that could have been big plays for the Wildcats. Second, the loss of quarterback Maxwell Smith to an apparent shoulder injury disrupted the nice rhythm that the two-quarterback system developed in Kentucky’s win over Miami (Ohio).
This week off should allow Kentucky to deal with both of those issues. Offensive coordinator Neal Brown, a former Kentucky receiver himself, will work with the receivers to make sure that drops are not an obstacle to the Wildcats moving the ball.
The week off can only help Smith, who has now been injured during all three of his seasons in Lexington. If it appears that Smith will be out for an extended period of time, this week off will help Brown and the offense prepare for life without Smith.
Jalen Whitlow, who was the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, will be the man running the show. Whitlow adds the dimension of running to the offense, but he is certainly not the passer that Smith is. If Whitlow is to be the quarterback who plays for the entire game, it will force Brown to change the way he puts together his game plan.
Kentucky needs the week off to sort through these issues before facing the Florida Gators on September 28. The Wildcats hope to have these questions answered in time for that game.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher, on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.