Long after the University of Kentucky's football practice had ended Tuesday, Bookie Cobbins was still on the Tim Couch practice fields.
The true freshman quarterback from New Orleans was not throwing the football, however. Instead, the 6-foot 187-pounder was working with UK student assistant coach (and former Kentucky and NFL wideout) Glenn Holt on running pass routes as a receiver.
It appears that if UK is going to pull Cobbins' redshirt in the sixth game of the season Saturday against South Carolina, it will be as a receiver and not a QB.
After UK's punchless offense struggled mightily last Saturday at No. 1 Louisiana State, Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips decried the lack of offensive playmakers on the UK roster.
On Tuesday, Phillips sounded less than certain that Cobbins was ready to help fix that.
"Bookie did a couple of things," Phillips said of Cobbins' practice performance. "It's a work in progress. You can't expect a huge change in him. He's trying to figure out what we're doing, especially at the wide-receiver position."
For Cobbins, working at receiver puts him directly under the tutelage of wide receivers coach Tee Martin, the UK assistant who recruited him.
"When I watched him in recruiting, it was one of those deals where you kind of see a young, Randall Cobb-type of potential in the guy," Martin said.
"(Cobbins) knows he's talented. ... The kid wants to play. He wants to win and help the football team. So we'll see what happens."
Martin, the quarterback of Tennessee's 1998 national championship team, says he knows first-hand from his own career the risk that comes from giving up a redshirt year mid-season.
"If you pull the shirt off, you want it to be for a reason," Martin said. "That happened to me at Tennessee. I played, probably, four minutes. I wish I had redshirted.
"So I understand how important that is. Not only just trying something, but make sure it is going toward something. If (Cobbins) is going to play, he should play, lest we waste a year in a guy's development."
Newton talks drops
Kentucky starting quarterback Morgan Newton has completed a tepid 50 percent of his pass attempts (65-for-130) through five games. UK is dead last in the SEC in pass efficiency. Newton has been pulled in favor of backup Maxwell Smith in each of Kentucky's past two games.
However, Newton, the junior quarterback from Carmel, Ind., has been victimized this season by numerous dropped passes from a UK receiving corps that has been a disappointment.
"Drops happen," Newton said Tuesday. "We try to eliminate those. That's what we are working on in practice. We'll be all right."
Phillips said Newton has been holding the ball too long in the pocket, contributing to Kentucky's SEC-worst 21 allowed sacks. The QB said that repeatedly watching his passes being dropped has not rattled his confidence and made him tentative to throw.
"Not so much," he said. "Guys got to make plays. Fortunate thing is, we're not even halfway through. We've got a lot of time, a lot of football left to play."
Phillips said Newton took the reps in Tuesday's practice with the No. 1 offense. Smith worked with the No. 2s, the UK coach said.
Kentucky running back Raymond Sanders returned to practice Tuesday following arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage in a knee that knocked him out of UK's past three games. Sanders was dressed in full pads and ran but did not have contact.
"He looked good today, he did," Phillips said. "... He did everything except for contact. He looked good running. He took reps with the ones. If (the injured knee) doesn't swell, we expect him to be able to go this weekend."
(Ex-)Cats beat Cards
Kentucky failed to beat Louisville this season, but two former Wildcats on the Marshall coaching staff were a part of the Thundering Herd's 17-13 upset of U of L in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium last Saturday.
Mike Cassity, a 1970s-era UK safety, coaches the secondary for Marshall head coach Doc Holliday. Gerad Parker, who played wide receiver for UK in the early 2000s, is the Herd's receivers coach.