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September 10, 2013
Notes: Stoops likes QB rotation; Quinn set to return
Neal Brown switched out quarterbacks.Everything about Kentucky's offense was fast in its home-opening win against Miami (Ohio) on Saturday. The tempo, how quickly the Wildcats took to snap the ball and especially the speed with which offensive coordinator
Both Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow saw their fair share of snaps against the RedHawks, at times substituting on every other play.
Expect more of the same against Louisville on Saturday.
"I liked it," Mark Stoops said at his weekly Monday news conference. "I think Neal had a great feel for it, and it may be what the quarterbacks needed as well. Just eliminate a little bit of pressure from them, and they both have their strengths, like we said, and our offense has some good packages with both of them."
Presumably Whitlow's package would feature more rushing plays, while Smith's focuses more on passing, especially down the field.
But Stoops said there is some crossover where both quarterbacks can run both packages.
"Obviously, our offense can run the same with a good percentage of it with either quarterback, but then they each have their strengths as well," Stoops said.
This season Smith is 23 of 36 for 435 and four touchdowns, while Whitlow is 20 of-27 for 181 yards and has rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
But Stoops will be the first to say a one-quarterback system is more traditional, and at times perhaps preferable.
"I think in a perfect world with one quarterback, he gets in there and gets in the flow and gets the continuity going and the leadership and all those things that come with it," Stoops said.
As long as Stoops has two quarterbacks that are doing those things, the Cats will have a different type of "perfect world."
"It showed Saturday both guys can come in and produce and make plays," running back Jonathan George said. " I feel comfortable with either guy back at the quarterback position. I know both guys will be able to make plays."
An impressive feat in a complicated offense like Brown's. Both quarterbacks have to make quick decisions, keep up with the tempo and be ready to exit or enter the game at any second.
And once Smith or Whitlow is in the game, he has to be ready for a plethora of play calls.
"The word I think of when I think of (Brown's) play calling, I want to say kind of ruthless because you know I feel like we try not to hold anything back, like the sweep play and the plays he set up off the sweep play," George said. "Like, he has a great mindset and he's a great offensive coordinator."
Louisville will be a big favorite in Saturday's game against the Cats, and if UK wants to shock the country, it will need to be healthy.
And for the most part, that seems to be the case.
"I think we're getting better," Stoops said. "We're in decent shape. There are no complaints. I think everybody is a little banged up."
Cody Quinn is back on UK's two-deep chart, and the Cats will not only need bodies to slow down U of L's passing attack, but quality players.
Quinn is both.
"You know, I think Cody will be back full speed this week, which will help," Stoops said. "He was ready to go last week in an emergency situation. He was ready to go if we needed him."
The sophomore cornerback has missed both games this season but saw action in eight in 2012. He finished the season with 25 tackles and five pass breakups.
"(Quinn) will help give us a little bit of depth," Stoops said.
One concern on the injury front is wide receiver Demarco Robinson. The junior injured an ankle on the opening kickoff against Miami (Ohio) and didn't return to the game.
He led the Cats in receiving in the season opener against WKU.
"I'm not sure yet," Stoops said when asked if he could play against Louisville. "I really don't know."
Winning the state
While Louisville is primed for a potential dream season, the Cats are rebuilding. And while the Cards will be the favorite on the field Saturday, UK has been the more favorable landing spot between top recruits.
UK sits at No.7 in the 2014 Rivals team rankings, while the Cards are No.17. Stoops was a part of a fierce rivalry game when he was the defensive coordinator at Florida State, and he didn't notice much of an impact with recruits in regards to the Seminoles annual game against Florida.
"It didn't impact recruiting at Florida State-Florida, it really didn't," Stoops said. "A lot of our guys were committed before that game, to be honest with you."
And that's the case for the Cats and Cards come Saturday. The schools have a combined 49 commitments, UK with eight four-stars, U of L with one.
"I don't know whether it will impact recruiting or not," Stoops said. "I really don't know. We have quite a few guys committed. I think they do too."
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