September 26th, 2012. Max Smith is diagnosed with a seperated shoulder following Kentucky's loss to Western. Despite reports things were okay Smith would only attempt one more pass before taking off the rest of the season in an attempt to let things heal. Then this summer on the radio show Smith shocked many fans when he revealed that he opted not to get surgery and that his shoulder would probably never be 100% again. As long as he didnt take a big hit everything would be fine... That's when things went awry. Sure enough Smith took a big hit against the arch-rival Cardinals and his final pass demonstrated reason to worry. Will Smith be able to bounce back again?
The Case For:
Smith said it himself when he spoke to Larry Vaught of the Danville Messenger:
Even though he gets “some pain” in his shoulder and had a shoulder injury last season, Smith said this injury is in a “different spot” and he’s sure he will be fine [...] Smith is trying to stay mentally sharp while he’s not throwing. He’s watching the offense and going through his progressions mentally to make decisions on what he would do.
“That’s really more than 50 percent of the game. The throw is like – I don’t know what the percentages are, but the throw isn’t as important as everything else you’ve got to think about pre-snap,” Smith said.
He says he’s trying to concentrate on his pass drop and alignment when he throws.
“It’s a little bit different than I’ve ever learned before, in terms of what we do. I’m buying into everything coach Brown tells me to do and I’m working to get better at it every day,” Smith said. “Coach Brown has proven that he’s been very successful everywhere he’s gone, so I’m buying into his system and just trying to get better at what he wants me to do.”
Perhaps we are just over analyzing an insignificant injury. Yes, Smith got hurt last season but that was a more serious injury and the bye week gives him a chance to rest up and come out guns blazing against the Gators.
The Case Against:
Stop me if you've heard this one before
When asked later to give a percentage on Smith starting, the coach went one step further.
“One hundred,” Phillips said. “He’s going to be the starter.”
Game against Florida, Smith set to start 100% certain, and when the kickoff is launched there is no Smith in sight. It happened last year and it wouldn't be too surprising to see it happen again. It's a bold strategy that could force the Gators to get ready for the wrong guy and in that give us an advantage. With little hope to win the next four games perhaps it would be wise to rest Smith for the back half of the season when we could steal a couple of games. Hopefully Smith is good to go and we don't see him forced out against Florida for the second year in a row.
So what do you think? Will Smith be under center next season or does the team now go with Whitlow?