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September 25, 2013

Time off, 'pitch count' helping QB Smith

Maxwell Smith is on a pitch count as he finishes up the rehabilitation process for a shoulder injury sustained against Louisville.

The sophomore quarterback made the most of his limited throws this week.

"I think the week down did him well," offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. "No signs of the injury to me. (Tuesday) he was almost perfect in practice. He had one drop."

Smith, who lost nearly all of his velocity during that game two weeks ago, said his throwing power is back -- and possibly better.

He measures it on sideline throws, and on Tuesday, "all of them were pretty much on the money," he said.

"(Brown) said it might have been the best he's even seen me throw," Smith said, "so that was a compliment."

However, the compliments don't mean Smith will necessarily be the starter against Florida on Saturday.

"We haven't decided yet," coach Mark Stoops said. "We really haven't. Both guys have been getting equal reps this week, because of the pitch count and everything else with what we're doing. So they've been equal."

Smith said the "pitch count" gradually rose throughout the week, and he was back to his normal amount on Wednesday.

That's a good sign for Smith, who is trying to complete an SEC game for the first time since Nov. 19, 2011.

Meanwhile, Brown is still trying to get sophomore Jalen Whitlow settled and relaxed to start games.

"That's as big as anything," Brown said.

Brown noted that Whitlow started poorly against Western, started well against Miami (Ohio) and started poorly against Louisville.

"So, if we keep going in that order, he's up to start well, right?" Brown said.

Brown said he had "an idea" of who the starter will likely be on Saturday, but affirmed the decision would probably remain internal until the first snap, much like Kentucky's season opener against Western.

"But," Brown said, "they'll play better."


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