A few of Kentucky's star players got grief from their coaches last week for not being as speedy as Cats quarterback Patrick Towles.
"We're rubbing it in with some of our guys with our GPS (devices) in practice and in games," Coach Mark Stoops said on Saturday. "He actually hit the highest number a week ago."
Stoops didn't want to divulge the specific number — Towles later said he thought it was 21.5 miles an hour — but said it was an indicator of just how speedy the 6-foot-5, 238-pound sophomore is.
"He's just a big guy," Stoops said. "He's sneaky fast."
The funniest part of the GPS story is that Towles said he wasn't clocked at that time running for a first down or running for his life from a defender, but while chasing down teammate Braylon Heard as the running back went in for one of his long touchdowns.
Towles said if the players actually got on a line and raced, "I don't know how many guys I beat."
On Saturday in a 20-3 win over Ohio, Towles showed he can beat plenty of players. Excluding the sack yardage, he ran 17 times for 59 yards.
Of those 17 plays, offensive coordinator Neal Brown guessed that seven to 10 of them were called runs for Towles.
Kentucky wanted to make sure Ohio — and other opponents moving forward — know that Towles is a threat to run the ball.
"They move a ton up front," Brown explained of Ohio. "They slant and move their defensive linemen a bunch. I thought we could run some power schemes with Patrick running it. I thought we could take some advantage of some things."
It worked. On the first drive alone, Towles was able to run twice for gains of 11 yards. Between his arms and his legs, the quarterback accounted for all but three of the 75 yards on that scoring drive.
Not every run was perfect, Brown said.
Sometimes you get a big third-down run and sometimes you get a missed throwing opportunity.
"Some of them were good plays," Brown said of the Towles rushes. "Some of them, he needs to hang in there and throw the football. So it's good and bad. Live by the sword, die by the sword."
Towles has the second most rushing attempts (25) of any quarterback in the Southeastern Conference aside from Mississippi State's Dak Prescott, who has one more, and is known as a dual-threat quarterback.
"Their quarterback was able to make plays, both in the throwing game and in the running game," Ohio Coach Frank Solich said afterward of Towles. "He kept some drives alive."
How much Towles, who rushed for 1,718 yards and 38 touchdowns in his career at Highlands, will be off to the races in the future will be opponent dependent.
"Some games in SEC play, where I'll carry the ball three times or two times or four times," Towles said. "But today it was kind of the way it all unfolded. ... It was for positive yardage, so I'm good."
The Kentucky quarterback is happy to tuck and run.
"I don't mind it," he said. "I'm a pass first guy, but if that doesn't happen, I gotta make a play. I'm not afraid to get hit. I'm a big guy. I try to give them as much as they're giving me."
That's the kind of attitude that has made his coaches and teammates like Towles' game.
"He'll do whatever we have to do to try to win games, so if that's what it calls for, then Patrick will be glad to do it," Stoops said.
There were questions after the win about Towles' ability to take those kinds of hits in SEC games and stay on the field.
There were questions about whether coaches want him to slide more instead of inviting contact.
"I mean, he's 245 pounds," Brown said. "He's got a good feel. He's been playing a long time. He knows when he needs to get down and when he can — the third downs, he needs to get the (first) down and some of the first-down, second-down plays."
The head coach said the goal isn't going to be running Towles 10-plus times a game every game, but having a quarterback that can do both will make life harder on defenses, starting with the Florida defense on Saturday.
"Wasn't perfect in all of his decision making today, but I liked the fact that me being a frustrated defensive coordinator all these years, when you have a quarterback wrapped up and they scramble out, it breaks your back," Stoops said.