September 04, 2013
Max Smith will be the starter Saturday.
He needs to be in every sense of the word.
"He needs to be a better player when he starts the game than at any point he has been in his career," Neal Brown said.
Getting off to a good start could be vital in more than one way.
Obviously, UK needs a win here, or else all bets are off for them winning any game the rest of the year.
But that should happen.
Perhaps more importantly, Kentucky needs to recapture some momentum and feel-good vibes after a loss the coaches and players described as "disappointing."
That can start with the offense, and Smith.
Here's how Smith fared on opening drives and first quarters in his three starts last year (not counting South Carolina, in which he started but was injured after a play).
Opening drive: 4 for 6, 28 yards, punt
First quarter: 10 for 13, 80 yards
Opening drive: 1-for-1, 8 yards
First quarter: 12-for-17 for 119 yards
Opening drive: 2-for-5, 26 yards, one interception
First quarter: 5-for-11, 48 yards, two interceptions
Solid stats, but little production: UK didn't get any first-quarter points in any of these three games.
And UK needs some points this time around.