On Thursday, Joker Phillips said junior Morgan Newton was limited again in practice with a sprained ankle. Due to the injury and how few reps he has gotten in practice, freshman Maxwell Smith will start against Ole Miss. Phillips is comfortable making the move based on the confidence Smith has shown all week.
"It's amazing what making a couple plays does," Phillips said.
Phillips expects to expand the playbook with Smith compared to last week as a game plan is tailored to his skills, but by no means will he be thrown out there on his own.
"We've put a little bit more in for him," Phillips said. "We're going to try to help him a little bit also with some of the calls."
If the UK-Ole Miss game were today, Newton would not even be able to serve as the backup due to his injury but Phillips said, "A lot can change between now and Saturday." In an emergency, freshman Bookie Cobbins will be inserted if Newton is unable to play and Smith goes down. Though Phillips doesn't want to burn his redshirt with just a few games left to play, Cobbins is ready.
"He's willing to play," Phillips said. "If we decide we have to play him, we'll play him. Four games at quarterback is a lot of snaps."
Other news from today is that running backs Jonathan George and CoShik Williams did practice and should be able to play, but Raymond Sanders is not expected to be available. Cornerback Randall Burden did not practice, but Phillips is hopeful he will be able to suit up. Regardless, Burden will not return punts and wide receiver Gene McCaskill will fill that role with freshman Daylen Hall as his backup.