November 03, 2013
Jalen Whitlow had a victorious return from injury against Alabama State, rushing for 101 yards and passing for 186.
With an injured ankle, Whitlow's runs were limited -- meaning we had more opportunities to see him pass the ball against a less-than-stellar secondary.
How'd he do? Well, he completed 16 of 26 passes with two touchdowns. Unusually, though, he was more consistently accurate on deeper throws than shorter throws, offensive coordinator Neal Brown said.
Let's take a look at Whitlow's passing chart:
At first glance, that assessment from Brown may seem wrong. Whitlow completed:
-- Seven of nine passes behind the line of scrimmage (77.8 percent)
-- Six of nine from 0-10 yards past the line of scrimmage (66.7 percent)
-- Three of eight from 10+ yards past the line of scrimmage (37.5 percent)
Besides the usual declining rate of success as you throw further down the field, though, the context of each of these throws matter.
I counted four throws in which Whitlow's pass was significantly off. Here they are:
-- A swing pass to Raymond Sanders four yards behind the line of scrimmage.
-- A six-yard pass toward the sideline to Demarco Robinson.
-- A six-yard out-route to Ryan Timmons.
-- A 21-yard pass down the sideline to Sanders.
Of those three, four were on short-to-intermediate throws.
And each of those four were bad misses, either behind the receiver's momentum or a few yards short/wide of him.
"By no means perfect," Brown said. "You all watched it."
"I don't know, just short-armed it or something," Whitlow said when asked about the short routes.
So those have to get fixed, especially against better opponents when every yard through the air is crucial and the routine plays, as Brown continually harps on, must be made.
However, Whitlow's passing down the field showed improvement. The throw to Borden, for example, was beautiful -- it wasn't against good coverage, but he still had to fit it 20+ yards down the sideline in stride, and between the corner and the safety.
"That was good to hit that one," Stoop said.
What's more, some incomplete throws down the field were on target. The 35-yard bomb to Badet was just slightly out of the back of the end zone, but it nestled right into his hands. The 18-yard deep throw to Timmons was on the money -- it was jarred out by a quick collision (and may have been influenced by Timmons' previously injured shoulder).
All in all, a strong showing by Whitlow.
Just what Kentucky wanted to see from its banged-up quarterback as it enters the final stretch.