Smith Stepping Up - Miami week
By Guy Ramsey
When Mark Stoops and
Neal Brown reviewed tape from Kentucky's season opener to make a
decision on a starter at quarterback, they saw clearly that the loss by
no means could be blamed entirely on Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow.
Nonetheless, a choice had to be made and they settled on Smith.
not at all ever on the quarterback," Stoops said. "But he made less
mistakes and he did some of the basic things that we're looking for
correctly and distributed the ball where we needed to. So that was the
big thing with helping us move the football."
Two days after
Stoops released UK's week-two depth chart announcing the new starter,
the Wildcats turned in a good Wednesday practice with Smith in his new
role. UK began installing its third-down packages ahead of Saturday's
matchup with Miami (Ohio), but more of the conversation centered on how
Smith has emerged as a leader this week.
"It's hard to be a
leader as a backup," Brown said. "You know, I think you can, but it's
hard. Thought he did a good job during the game until he went in,
giving energy and supporting his teammates on the sidelines. But I
definitely agree with that, I think it's easier as a starter, no matter
In the immediate aftermath of the WKU loss,
Smith told reporters he wanted to step up in that department,
regardless of his role. Smith's presence has been consistent throughout
the fall, but he's calling on himself to do even more.
"I feel like the team sees me as a leader, but I think I have to take control of the team more often," Smith said.
But for Smith to be effective in helping guide the offense, he will rely heavily on his teammates.
guys lead too," Smith said. "I'm not the only one. I think everybody on
the offense has to kind of lead themselves so we can all lead each
other in a way."
His new backup at quarterback is included in
that group. Not only will Whitlow be there to help Smith on the
sideline, but the athletic sophomore will also play in certain
packages, Brown said on Wednesday. He's too talented to leave out of
the game plan completely.
As was proven against WKU, UK looks
different with Smith running the offense. However, it doesn't mean
there's any kind of overhaul.
"Will we look different with Jalen
at quarterback than with Max at quarterback?" Brown said. "Yes, yes we
will. But does the base of the offense change? No. Maybe what I call
does. But the offense doesn't."