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Monday, March 10, 2014

UK Needs to Throw in the Towles

Patrick Towles and Jared Lorenzen at the first ever Mark vs. Food in 2011. 
Larry Vaught of the Kentucky Sports Report talked to the father of former Highlands Quarterback, Patrick Towles, Terry, about the upcoming year for his son in Lexington. 

Instead of doing the typical college spring break thing, Patrick will be heading to California to work on his game with a world renowned coach of his position to try to get a head start going into his Redshirt sophomore campaign for the University of Kentucky.

For a multitude of reasons, as of yet, Towles has not gotten the shot he deserves for the Wildcats. As a true freshman then coach, Joker Phillips, opted to go with 5th year Senior, Morgan Newton, over Towles. Newton was unspectacular, then injured. That injury led to Towles getting on the field and playing well until an ankle injury cut his freshman year short.

Phillips, with no clear direction for the team or the quarterback position, was fired that year.

New Head Coach, Mark Stoops, promised Towles, along with other quarterbacks Max Smith and Jalen Whitlow, he would keep an open mind in terms of playing time. He never did declare a clear starter and the team suffered because of it. Not wanting to burn another year of eligibility, Kentucky redshirted Towles. That was a mistake as Stoops' first year was essentially a lost year for all involved which led to a 2-10 record and going winless in the SEC.

Now heading into his 3rd year as a Wildcat, Towles will be a Redshirt Sophomore.  No doubt this is my inner cake eater talking, but Patrick is a better quarterback than any player on that roster. And yes, that includes 5-star incoming freshman, Drew Barker of Connor. Taking it a step further, Towles probably should have been starting since stepping foot in Lexington.

The time is now for Kentucky to progress to being a competitive team and that transformation starts with Patrick. Bottom line. He's putting in work while most college kids are partying during spring break. That's a good first step.

Here's the article from Larry Vaught, via Kentucky Sports Report 

George Whitfield Jr. is known as a “quarterback guru” and has worked with Andrew Luck and Cam Newton, both former No. 1 picks in the NFL draft. He’s been working with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, another potential No. 1 pick, recently.

Soon he’ll be spending a week with Kentucky sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles, too, to help him work on his game before UK starts spring practice March 28. Towles is going to spend his upcoming spring break in California working with Whitfield and renew a relationship that started when Towles, then a quarterback at Highlands High School, met him at an Elite 11 camp in Los Angeles.

“Andrew Luck and Cam Newton swear by him. He is their guy and he’s working with a lot of guys now getting them ready for their Pro Day,” said Terry Towles, Patrick’s father. “He’s agreed to take Patrick on during spring break and Patrick is really excited. They had a good relationship before and Patrick knows it is time to get moving before spring football starts.”

Towles has already been working out some on his own with Donnie Walker, who has worked with current California offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. Walker conducts clinics in the same offense that UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown played in and now uses with his own tweaks.

“Patrick just wants to go out with Whitfield and have an extra eye look at him and see if he notices anything or has any suggestions,” Terry Towles said. “It will be good for him to get in a real good workout before spring practice starts. He’s throwing about three days a week now, but there’s not a whole lot the (UK) coaches can do. People don’t realize how little time the coaches are actually allowed to spend with them. The strength coach can be there, but the offensive coaches are there for spring practice and then again Aug. 1.

“If you are not out there working and doing a little extra, it’s hard to improve, and Patrick wants to get better. That’s why he has been doing some extra work with Donnie Walker, too. He (Walker) understands the Kentucky offense and has a really good grasp of it and can just point out things to Patrick.”

Towles was the premier player in UK’s 2012 recruiting class under then coach Joker Phillips. He was Kentucky’s Mr. Football and led Highlands to three straight state titles with a 44-1 record. He threw for 3,820 yards and 42 touchdowns with just one interception as a senior and threw for 7,429 yards and 73 scores in his career while also rushing for 1,718 yards and 38 scores. He was ranked as one of the top-10 pro-style quarterbacks in the country by and 24/7 Sports.

He played in five games in 2012 and completed 19 of 40 passes for 233 yards and a score. His first appearance against Mississippi State he led UK to a 71-yard scoring drive capped by a 32-yard touchdown pass, but he hurt his ankle in the win and was limited the rest of the season. Last year he was redshirted.

Towles goes into spring practice battling for playing time with Jalen Whitlow, Maxwell Smith, Reese Phillips and Drew Barker.

“The offseason has gone pretty good. He’s done a lot of agility and strength stuff and has done well,” Terry Towles said. “He just wants to be as ready as possible.”

Many speculated he would not stay at Kentucky after playing in only five games in two years. But his dad says the speculation never bothered his son.

“He is a very upbeat kid. He is excited about the opportunity he has to compete in the spring,” Terry Towles said. “His spirits are really good. He has had a lot of accomplishments in his life, but the thing I am most proud of is how he has conducted himself through this process. He has remained upbeat. He cheered for his team. He never ducked his head and hid. 

“Just in general you see people face adversity and learn a lot about them. I think he has handled it well and it will make him a better quarterback one day. I am really proud of him. He just wants to get better and that’s truly the way he feels. He’s just like that. Unlike his father, he is very patient. He understands, and I agree, that it is all about timing. His time has not been there yet, but we all think it is going to come eventually, and hopefully that will be in the fall. If not, he will continue the same way about his business in the future.”

Terry Towles is not worried about his son placing too much pressure on himself this spring knowing Barker and Phillips are only freshmen and that Whitlow and Smith both have starting experience.

“He likes that. The more pressure, the better he plays. I don’t think that will be a factor in whether he’s successful or not,” Terry Towles said. “He likes that. He will feel the pressure obviously when he’s playing, but he has had that discussion with coach Brown and he says when he plays best is when there’s the most pressure. What stress is to some is not stress to others.

“He always wanted to go to UK to play and that will happen when the time is right. There are a lot of quarterbacks that have gone on to be a success that endured adversity during their careers. It’s just part of the learning curve and he understands that. He has kept a very positive attitude. I would not say there was never a down time, but he never showed it. He is confident in himself and that allows him to keep a positive attitude.”


  1. Patrick was a great quarterback in KY high school. Although I agree he hasn't had the opportunity to see if he can compete in the SEC, my guess is he ends up being 3rd string after spring practice and likely transfers after this season. He should transfer to a MAC school or smaller conference where competition is lower and he could actually get some playing time.

  2. What would lead you to that conclusion? When he got on the field, healthy, he was the best option UK had.

    Whitlow is best utilized outside and Max Smith is just not as talented as Patrick.

    Drew Barker needs time. Patrick should, and I think will, be the guy this year.