October 25, 2013
Max Smith had a chance to make his case for Kentucky's quarterback position.
It didn't go very well. Smith completed 18 of 34 passes, but he was largely ineffective at moving the offense. Those 18 completions went for just 160 yards (51 of which were from Timmons on the long screen-play touchdown).
One big reason: most of Smith's throws were designed to be short passes.
"We’re running stuff in the game that we think we can execute," Neal Brown said.
And for good reason.
Against Mississippi State, Smith completed just two of nine passes that traveled 10+ yards past the line of scrimmage.
Take a look at his passing chart:
Almost everything was designed to be thrown underneath.
Smith showed why. By my count, seven of his incompletions -- all of which were at least five yards downfield -- were just poor throws, missing their target.
The receivers didn't help, to be sure. UK dropped five throws, all of which were on screens behind the line of scrimmage.
But it was clear that Smith isn't an effective downfield passer.
And that just doesn't work for Kentucky's offense.
"Yeah, our passing game’s gotta get better. I can talk all I want, but our passing game’s gotta be better," Brown said. "We’ve got to complete balls down the field and we’re not doing that. Until we do that, we’re going to struggle."