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Friday, December 23, 2011

FTM Exclusive: Patrick Towles on Patrick Towles

I caught up with Patrick Towles this week, fresh off his Mr. Football commendation, to talk about his time with Highlands, his future with Kentucky and his thoughts on what's next for the Fort Thomas native.

Towles, who was also recently named an honorable mention quarterback on the Sports Illustrated All-America list and third team All-America on ESPN that was announced Monday and Thursday respectively, threw for 3,820 yards, 42 touchdowns and rushed for 589 yards and 15 touchdowns in leading the Bluebirds to the Class 4A state title. Their 5th in a row.

The UK commit's play on the field reminds me of another #8 from Highlands, Gino Guidugli. He's a little more athletic than Gino, but is accurate, throws a strong, tight spiral, and has outstanding decision making skills. It has been my belief since the end of his junior year and subsequent commitment to the Wildcats, that Towles would push current quarterbacks Max Smith and Morgan Newton for the starting job.

Mark Collier: I've seen in different articles and websites you referred to as Pat or Patrick. Which is it?

Patrick Towles: It's either. People who are close to me call me Pat. It'll be Patrick in the media guide next year.

MC: What's on the agenda for the rest of the year at Highlands?

PT: Well, I'll continue to work out and get ready for football next year, but I'm actually excited, I've got my first basketball game of the year tonight against Campbell County.

MC: Tell me about your game?

PT: I play the 4, power forward. I grew up running point, but then as I got older I got taller than everyone so I moved down low.

MC: So, your story is similar to Anthony Davis (UK freshman), right?

PT: Right. (Laughs) No, I can still handle the ball a little bit, but I'm mostly down low now.

MC: You took your official visit to Lexington this weekend. How was your visit?

PT: It was awesome. I got to meet a lot of other commits, recruits. And I got a lot more in depth with the relationships with all the coaches.

MC: Who were your hosts?

PT: Friday night I was with Maxwell Smith, another quarterback, but he had to go back home to California. So Saturday I was with Zach West. The whole visit was awesome. The guys were really welcoming and really up for whatever we wanted to do. We hung out with a lot of the team and had a really good time.

MC: Did you talk to Max or Morgan about competing with them next year?

PT: A little bit. We talked about how it's going to be fun to compete against each other for the starting job.

MC: We'll since your commitment to Kentucky, I've been telling people you were going to start from day 1.

PT: No pressure. Thanks. (laughs)

MC: How are your relationships with the coaches?

PT: I was impressed with all the coaches. They are all stand up guys. The one thing about Kentucky, is that all the coaches there have their dream job. Most of them are from Kentucky and have always wanted to be there. They have been a Kentucky player or a Kentucky coach. It's good to know that the guys who are coaching you actually want to be there and you can't really say that about all the other coaches in college football.

MC: Did your position coach, Randy Sanders, talk about your role with the team next year?

PT: He said that I'm going to have a chance to compete for a starting job, and that they will play the best guy, which is really all I can ask for. He coached Peyton Manning at Tennessee and Tee Martin, our WR's coach to a national championship. I'm just real excited about working with him next year.

MC: Tee Martin's star seems to be rising pretty quickly. Did you get the impression that he was in it for the long haul as well?

PT: Yes sir, I think so. I think he's definitely happy to be there. We spent some really good time with each other, and bonded a little bit.

MC: Switching gears a little bit. I know Jared Lorenzen was your Quarterback coach last year at Highlands. What coaching tidbits stick out that he gave to you?

PT: One thing that Jared taught me was how to watch film. And when you watch it, you don't always just watch yourself, but you watch all the little things that the offensive line does because it all starts up front. It was just great to have an NFL guy like him around.

MC: Has Jared talked to you about what it's like being the quarterback at the University of Kentucky?

PT: He has touched on it a little bit, but I think he's going to let me experience it for myself. He's going to let me go through the thick and thin of being a college quarterback and see how I deal with it.

MC: Going back to this past year you had 42 TD passes and only 1 interception. Which sticks out more in your mind?

PT: The thing that sticks out most to me is being 15-0 and winning a state championship. All the touchdowns are awesome, but it would mean nothing to me if we didn't get that ring. I'm really glad we did and it made it all worth it. I do remember the interception vividly, though. It was an out that I threw, that I shouldn't have thrown. The cornerback jumped it. I made the tackle, but it was definitely a ball I shouldn't have thrown and I learned from it.

MC: Do you think the Fort Thomas Junior Football League helped you and helps spurn the success that Highlands has had over its competitors?

PT: No doubt. I played junior league football in Fort Thomas for 6 years. They run the same kind of offensive and defensive schemes. It helps tremendously to get acclimated to the same terms as a fifth grader as we do in high school.

It is more of a laid back kind of league though. It's not like the hardcore, knock down, drag out NKYFL. I remember in 6th grade we scrimmaged the Red Devils (Campbell County) and we got smashed. But all the way through the Highlands system, you just get better and better and we ended up beating them by 60 this year.

MC: What do you think people think of when you tell people you are from Highlands or Fort Thomas?

PT: Probably a winning tradition. And I'm really hoping I can try to bring some of that down to Lexington.

MC: Going to play a quick word association game. I'll say a word and you tell me what first comes to your mind.

The University of Kentucky: Big Blue Nation. The amount of support and passion that UK fans have is a big reason why a lot of recruits end up going there.

Patrick Towles: Winner. Winning is the only thing that matters.

Highlands: A winning tradition. Wonderful program that develops players and men.

The University of Louisville: I don't like Louisville very much. I grew up not liking them and I can't wait to help to try to beat them next year.

Covington Catholic: Same thing. Although I really do have a lot of respect for the guys that go to Cov Cath. I like the guys that go there, but I just loved beating them.

Dale Mueller: Just a wonderful guy. Great coach but even a better person. He really cares about his players.

Joker Phillips: A really stand up guy. He's really committed to getting Kentucky to the next level and that's why I'm going there.

The SEC: That's one of the reasons I'm going to UK. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best competition and that's what you get when you go there.

MC: Final question. What's the long term goal at UK? Tell me your realistic goals:

PT: As crazy as it sounds, I think we can win a national championship. We'll obviously have to build, but as I get past my freshman year, we've got to be able to beat the teams in our conference and hopefully build from there. I'm really excited to get to Lexington and get to work.

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