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2007 Kentucky Preview

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 30, 2007


Preview 2007 Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky Wildcats

Preview 20
07


By
Pete Fiutak

- 2007 Kentucky Preview | 2007 UK Offense Preview | 2007 UK Defense Preview
-
2007 UK Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Kentucky Preview 


A funny thing happened on the way to the end of the Rich Brooks era: the team got good, and really, really fun (in both good and bad ways).    

Kentucky might not register a blip on the national college football consciousness, but it should be a must-watch team on your weekly radar, thanks to one of the most exciting offenses in America and a defense that couldn’t stop you and ten friends from putting up three touchdowns.

Head coach: Rich Brooks
5th year: 17-30
23rd year overall: 108-139-4
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 29, Def. 28, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 20
Ten Best UK Players
1. QB Andre Woodson, Sr.
2. RB/PR Rafael Little, Sr.
3. WR/KR Keenan Burton, Sr.
4. LB Wesley Woodyard, Sr.
5. LB Braxton Kelley, Jr.
6. FS Marcus McClinton, Jr.
7. TE Jacob Tamme, Sr.
8. WR Dicky Lyons, Jr.
9. CB Trevard Lindley, Soph.
10. DT Myron Pryor, Jr.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 6-6

Sept. 1

Eastern Kentucky

Sept. 8

Kent State

Sept. 15

Louisville

Sept. 22

at Arkansas

Sept. 29

Florida Atlantic

Oct. 4

at South Carolina

Oct. 13

LSU

Oct. 20

Florida

Oct. 27

Mississippi State

Nov. 10

at Vanderbilt

Nov. 17

at Georgia

Nov. 24

Tennessee

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
4-8
2006 Record: 8-5

Preview 2006 predicted wins

9/2 at Louisville L 59-28
9/9 Texas State W 41-7
9/16 Ole Miss W 31-14
9/23 at Florida L 26-7
9/30 Central Mich W 45-36
10/7 South Carolina L 24-17
10/14 at LSU L 49-0
10/28 at Miss State W 34-31
11/4 Georgia W 24-20
11/11 Vanderbilt W 38-26
11/18 UL Monroe W 42-40
11/25 at Tennessee L 17-12
12/29 Music City Bowl
Clemson W 28-20

With QB Andre Woodson’s decision to come back for his senior year, the UK offense will explode with a who’s who of underground producers like receiver Keenan Burton, do-it-all back Rafael Little, and TE Jacob Tamme. Basically, if you can’t beat them, out-bomb them.

The defense had its moments throughout last year, but the secondary was non-existent and most teams that could run well had few problems against the Wildcat front seven. Fortunately or unfortunately, just about everyone returns, so if the D can be just a little better, and the offense can build on what it started during the second half of last year, this could be the type of team that annoys the heck out of most SEC teams with title dreams.

While last year was a big stepping-stone, complete with a stunning bowl win over Clemson, Brooks has to prove it wasn’t a fluke. Hal Mumme and Guy Morriss each had the program on the verge of expecting to go to a bowl on a yearly basis, but it never happened. The talent level has improved just enough to be more than just competitive, and the coaching staff has appeared to hit its stride, so now it all has to come together. If nothing else, it’ll be a fun ride.


What to watch for on offense: Efficiency. While Woodson has the NFL arm to push the ball deep, he’s also an ultra-efficient passer who did a great job last season of not making mistakes. As long as he gets a little time to work, a luxury he didn’t have last year behind a line that gave up 39 sacks, he should be even more effective. UK won last year by not turning the ball over, and as long as Woodson doesn’t start forcing his throws, there should be similar success.

What to watch for on defense: Has the secondary improved? Five true freshmen played key roles throughout last season’s disaster, so there’s hope for the experience to translate into better results. This is a far more athletic, faster group that UK has had in a long time, and it could turn into one of the SEC’s bigger surprises by midseason.

The team will be far better if … the offense shows up against the elite SEC teams. The attack went ballistic against the UL Monroes, Texas States and Vanderbilts of the world, but scored a grand total 19 points against Florida, LSU and Tennessee. Half the battle for UK is beating the teams it’s supposed to, but to get to another level and be a true threat for a great bowl game, it has to get the offense moving against the top defenses.

The Schedule: With eight home games, UK has the type of schedule to make some real noise if it can be tough in Commonwealth Stadium. Can the Wildcats use the home field advantage to beat Louisville, LSU, Florida and Tennessee? Well, no, but they should be able to win at least one of those, if not two. The road schedule is tough but it could be worse, as UK travels to Arkansas, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Georgia. There aren’t two road games in a row until November, when UK faces the Commodores and Bulldogs.

Best Offensive Player: Senior QB Andre Woodson. The spotlight is on Woodson, who could’ve gone pro this season and been one of the top five quarterbacks taken, if not number three behind JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn.  But he’s back and will be heavily scrutinized all season long. He’s 6-5, around 240 pounds, relatively mobile and has the arm to make jaws drop. Now he has to prove that last year, when he threw 31 touchdowns with only seven interceptions, wasn’t a fluke.

Best Defensive Player: Senior LB Wesley Woodyard. While he’s built like a safety at 6-1 and 212 pounds, he’s able to use his speed to be a demon of a weak side linebacker. He was all over the field last season, making 122 tackles from sideline to sideline cleaning up everyone else’s mess, while also being decent in pass coverage.

Key player to a successful season: The entire secondary. The offense will put up points in bunches, the run defense shouldn’t be all that bad, and the pass rush should be average enough to hurry most quarterbacks. Now the secondary has to come up with a stop. This was a young group that took its lumps throughout last season, and now there must be some production, even with some reshuffling in the early part of the year.

The season will be a success if ... the Wildcats win nine games (and that might include a bowl). That might be an extremely lofty goal considering the killer teams on the schedule, but UK has the offense to score on just about anyone. If the team could pull off eight wins last year with the nation’s worst defense, it can shoot for one more victory with a little bit of improvement. A win over either Louisville or Florida, to make a major statement in the progress of the program, would be nice.

Key game: Sept. 15 vs. Louisville. UK has been a punching bag for its in-state rival over the last four seasons, and if this is going to be a transcendent season, the slide has to stop now. A win would be a tremendous confidence-builder going into the start of the SEC season at Arkansas. .

2006 Fun Stats: 
- First quarter scoring: Kentucky 65; Opponents 68
- Second quarter scoring: Kentucky 120 – Opponents 115
- Rushing yards per game: Kentucky 98.6; Opponents 184.5

 

Related Stories
2007 Kentucky Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 30, 2007
2007 Kentucky Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 30, 2007
2007 Kentucky Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 30, 2007








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