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August 17, 2013

After closed scrimmage, no call on Kentucky QB

To answer your first question: No.

Kentucky's closed football scrimmage came and went on Saturday without a decision on a starting quarterback. And with no clear indication on when (or if) a starter might be named.

Jalen Whitlow, Maxwell Smith and Patrick Towles remain in the mix, and freshman Reese Phillips was as impressive as any of them on Saturday, offensive coordinator Neal Brown said.

"Well, every time you start thinking you're getting closer to making a decision, maybe some things go good or go bad with the other guys," coach Mark Stoops said. "I think we've been good and patient."

And the Wildcats' staff will continue to be patient, though UK appears at least to be circling a decision. Whether or not it's announced publicly - Brown said this week he sees the value in keeping opening opponent Western Kentucky in the dark about the Cats' starter - Stoops said the staff will "work through some of that for sure this week."

Neither the quarterbacks nor their targets seemed to have had strong days on Saturday. Asked if any wide receiver stood out, Brown said flatly "No," and both he and Stoops alluded to dropped passes as an issue.

But Brown hoped to have a better feel for his quarterbacks after a review of Saturday's action.

"They had their highs and lows," Brown said. "It's really hard to say. I guess whenever I see ya'll (reporters) next, Monday or Tuesday, whatever day it is, I'll be able to give you a little bit better feedback. Being down here on field the level, sometimes you can't see. We had some drops. So they made some better throws than what I thought because we were dropping the ball some later in the scrimmage."

The offense got off to a strong start Saturday, Stoops said, but the defense got the better of the scrimmage by day's end. The quarterbacks combined to throw four interceptions.

Stoops was pleased with the overall performance from his defense, though he didn't single out any standouts. Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot was not available for interviews afterward, but linebacker Kory Brown said the defense got the edge late by "being physical, making plays, knowing (its) assignments."

Neal Brown pointed to freshman running back Jojo Kemp, who left the scrimmage early with an ankle injury not thought to be serious, as a standout.

But neither Stoops nor Brown offered much insight into position battles. Brown did note that Max Godby "got most of the first-team reps" at center.

The most intriguing question remains at quarterback. It's hard to get a handle on just how close that one is to being answered.

"Honestly, every day in practice and even in the scrimmage today, all three of those guys show flashes and make great plays," running back Jonathan George said. "So, honestly, in my opinion, you really can't just tell right now. Because all three of those guys are making plays. Even Reese, he's coming out and making great plays. So right now, I feel like it's just in the coaches' hands and they'll choose who they want to play the position, and we'll be behind them 100 percent.

Mississippi State NEWS


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