Florida Loss Still Stings, But UK Is Moving Forward
“Terry understands what it means mentally and physically to be a quarterback of a successful team. Because of that, I have full faith in Sawyer Smith. Terry’s body is done for 2019, but his leadership isn’t. I look for him to still be an integral part of our team and his instinctual guidance over Kentucky’s offense will be evident while Smith is at the helm.”
That is an excerpt from a post I wrote a week ago. Against Florida, Terry hobbled onto the field on crutches as a Captain and provided an example of the leadership that UK’s team and Big Blue Nation needs to see. The pain from this Florida loss will carry on well past this season, but I am not ready to give up on this team just yet, and you shouldn’t be either.
As the schedule currently looks, Florida is the second most difficult game we’ve got in front of us (Of course, Georgia being the most difficult). That leaves us with eight very winnable games to add to our 2-1 record. Sawyer Smith had an solid showing with 267 yards and a couple touchdowns and proved to our unsure fan base that he can pick up where Terry left off. Naturally, I feel like we’d be in a much better position had Terry not been hurt, but as previously stated, he’s still an integral part of this team and he’s mature enough to understand that. Sawyer is not going to develop as the 2019 QB on his own because he’ll have Wilson watching film and reviewing plays with him all season. Rest assured, UK is solid at Quarterback.
Here’s some other things I liked about Sawyer Smith.
*He’s calm under pressure. We all know Chance Poore missed the field goal at the end of the game, and regardless of if you like the strategy of playing for a field goal or going for a touchdown in that situation, Smith led us to a winning position on the field.
*He’s comfortable with multiple receivers. Against Florida, nine different UK receivers recorded at least one catch. Defenses will have a tougher time planning for UK knowing there are so many targets available in our passing game.
*He’s a good 3rd down passer. On Saturday, Sawyer went 7 for 9 for 93 yards on 3rd down.
*His arm is accurate. We have already seen some incredibly well thrown balls from Sawyer Smith in both short and long yardage plays. He missed Lynn Bowden high a few times in the 2nd half against the Gators, but that accuracy will only get better with repetition.
Of course, there are some other negatives from the Florida game that will be addressed by the UK coaching staff this week, and we saw a couple instances where Sawyer made a poor decision that resulted in a turnover. I choose not to focus on those issues. Losing on Saturday wasn’t fun, but the potential I saw in our backup QB gave me a lot of comfort and confidence that UK could still be a 9 or 10 win team this season. If you didn’t see some positives on Saturday yourself, you should maybe think about watching the game again or consider going ahead and jumping on the Clemson bandwagon.