"Ummm...uhh...um, did we really get shut out? #&*%.
Offensive Coordinator Randy Sanders chimed in
last night after the loss regarding the (grotesquely offensive) offense and QB play. Sanders has acquired a pretty good rep in the Commonwealth and beyond since raising up Peyton Manning at UT and helping Andre Woodson flourish at UK. With the offense's recent struggles, his word is one worth paying attention to when looking for how the team can improve. Let's see...
On not playing Max Smith vs. UF and the future
" I am [confident Smith will be back next week]. [...] It was one of those deals where if he got hurt again, he may have been out the next four or five weeks. It was a tough decision not to play him because he probably gives us our best opportunity to win. But, at the same time, if play him and he gets hurt, you probably lose your best opportunity to win for the next four or five weeks also. Coach Phillips and myself got together and made the call"
Fair enough. Protecting your best QB resulted in an embarrassing shutout loss, the destroyed confidence of Morgan Newton, and even more questions about our coaching. While all that sucks, he's got a good point - the risk was not worth playing Max, even though Max wanted to play. I think all the fans just wanted to see the young gun Jalen Whitlow get a chance sooner after the terrible start by Newton.
Sanders on Whitlow not starting the second-half
"Well...Morgan hadn't had...he had...missed a couple open guys. And he'd made a couple of bad decision with where he threw the ball. Um...but, a the same time, he allowed us to run a lot more of our offense. Jalen can do a few things, and can do a few things pretty well. But he's pretty limited."
On the week's preparation
"On Tuesday, Wednesday, we were still operating under the assumption that we thought Max would be able to play."
On the three interceptions
"One was a bad throw, the ball didn't come out of his hand very well. The other two were poor decisions."
One quote that made me scratch my head while simultaneously laughin
"We became a whole lot easier to defend there in the second-half."
Yes, as opposed to the first-half where we put up a whopping zero points on the Gators.
Sanders did take some of the credit for taking Morgan out of his comfort zone and forcing him into plays that backfired on the Cats. He commended Morgan for his attitude, and seemed to understand where Newton was coming from when he made the comment about circumstances always been a little bit against him and not getting the most fair chance to succeed.
Looks like it is back to the drawing board for the UK offense. Two disappointing weeks in a row really have Big Blue Nation down in the dumps as far as the football program goes. Something's got to give soon.