BC Interruption: Patrick Towles was a Kentucky kid who went to the flagship in-state school and hoped to lead them to prominence in the ultra-competitive SEC. After back-to-back 5-7 seasons, what will his legacy be in Lexington?
Jason Marcum: I'm honestly not sure what Patrick Towles legacy ultimately will be.
On one hand, he helped lead the Cats back from one of the darker periods in program history (back-to-back 2-10 seasons) and helped make UK a respectable program again. He was also just a couple of plays away from leading UK to two straight bowls.
On the other hand, he and his teammates ultimately failed to even make those one or two more plays, and that's why he never led to the Cats to a bowl. he was also part of constant upheaval on offense, playing with three different offensive coordinators between his true freshman season to his redshirt junior year.
Towles also ended his time in Lexington having thrown eight interceptions vs one touchdown in his final six games and 17 picks vs nine passing scores over his last 13 games. He was far too inconsistent for the Cats to beat good teams, and fans were ready to seem him on the bench for much of this past season.
At the end of the day, Towles' legacy should be that of a player who helped carry Kentucky out of a dark period and helped set them up for brighter days ahead.
BCI: He put some pretty gawdy numbers as a passer at times over the past couple of seasons but tailed off at the end of last season. What was the main reason for his struggles at the end of 2015?
JM: His real issue was new offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson was a major downgrade from what Neal Brown was before becoming the head coach at Troy. Dawson was also the third different OC Towles has played under in college.
That much change at OC will cause any QB to not be at his best. Still, a lot of Towles' issues were between the ears. He just made too many bad decisions that a starting QB can't make, whether it was taking bad sacks, throwing interceptions in the red zone, or running out of bounds short of the marker on 4th down.
But that said, Towles showed flashes of being a QB who make any throw you need him to and can be someone that puts up big numbers if given a good supporting cast and offensive coordinator.
BCI: Based on what you saw at Kentucky, what kind of offense does Towles need to succeed?
JM: Pro-style. One that doesn't require him to throw the ball 35+ times like he was at Kentucky in their attempts at air-raid offenses. Again, he can make any throw you need, but not consistent enough that you want him being the one who carries your offense.
Towles is also a threat to run, something Dawson did not take advantage of as much as Brown did, which helped lead to the regression.
BCI: How important is it for for him to have solid receivers and running backs? Is he the type of QB that makes people around him better or is he the type of player that plays to the level around him?
JM: Towles absolutely needs good players around him to succeed. He had some at Kentucky, but they were too inconsistent, and thus, helped magnify Towles' issues even more. He was part of the problem, and being the QB, drew most of the blame. Towles won't elevate an average offense to become a good one, but he can be good with a good supporting cast.
BCI: What are some of his biggest strengths and weaknesses as a player?
JM: Arm strength is his biggest strength, no pun intended. He can make any throw and make them occasionally as good as an NFL QB would.
Towles is also very mobile. He was running the ball an average of 12 times per game in 2014, including 23 rushes for 76 yards against a decent Mississippi State run defense. However, that number dropped to just over 6six rushers per game
The problem is, Towles' NFL arm is often overshadowed and even completely negated by his freshman mechanics. Footwork, arm windup, and stepping through his throws made far too many of his passes go off the mark.
Pocket awareness is another area Towles has struggled in. His offensive line was bad this past season, but he takes way too many unnecessary sacks in which he could have easily thrown the ball way or scrambled out of the sack.