2008 CFN Kentucky Preview |
2008 Kentucky Depth
2007 CFN Kentucky Preview |
2006 CFN Kentucky Preview
Is that it? Is that
what everything has been pointing towards for the last few years
under Rich Brooks?
Hanging by a threat after a mediocre start, Brooks and his staff
suddenly turned around the program with a high-octane offense that
cranked out a ton of yards and did just enough to off-set an awful
defense and lousy O line play. Everything had been building towards
2007, when Andre Woodson and his cast of veteran offensive weapons
were supposed to take the SEC by relative storm, and while there was
a huge win over LSU, the 8-5 season with a Music City Bowl win,
considering all of its potential, was sort of no big whoop
considering the Wildcats went 8-5 with a Music City Bowl win in
Head coach: Rich Brooks
6th year: 25-35
24th year overall: 116-144-4
Off. 26, Def. 27, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 16
Best UK Players
2. CB Trevard Lindley, Jr.
3. DT Myron Pryor, Sr.
4. OT Garry Williams, Sr.
5. RB Alfonso Smith, Jr.
6. LB Braxton Kelley, Sr.
7. DE Ventrell Jenkins, Sr.
8. FS Marcus McClinton, Sr.
9. WR Dicky Lyons, Sr.
10. LB Micah Johnson, Jr.
CFN Prediction: 5-7
2008 Record: 0-0
Sept. 6 Norfolk State
Sept. 13 Middle Tennessee
Sept. 20 OPEN DATE
Sept. 27 Western Kentucky
Oct. 4 at Alabama
Oct. 11 South Carolina
Oct. 18 Arkansas
Oct. 25 at Florida
Nov. 1 at Mississippi State
Nov. 8 Georgia
Nov. 15 Vanderbilt
Nov. 22 OPEN DATE
Nov. 29 at Tennessee
CFN Prediction: 6-6
2007 Record: 8-5
Louisville W 40-34
Sept. 22 at
Arkansas W 42-29
4 at So Carolina L 38-23
13 LSU W 45-37 3OT
Vanderbilt W 27-20
Georgia L 24-13
L 52-50 4OT
Music City Bowl
Dec. 31 Florida State W 35-28
You only get so many
chances to do big things in the SEC if you're someone like Kentucky, an
always promising program that has a hard time getting over the
basketball hump, and last year might have been it. But while the
spotlight was on and the team came through with a decent, but overall
underwhelming year considering the expectations, there's a chance for
the team to do even better things this season as it flies under the
Woodson and the stars of the offense might be gone, but the receiving
corps gets back solid veteran Dicky Lyons and a track team of young
targets who should stretch the field. The quarterback situation is still
up in the air, but at least there's good talent to work with, while the
backfield that loses do-it-all back Rafael Little has the potential to
be even better if Alfonso Smith, Derrick Locke and Tony Dixon play up to
Unlike the last few years, UK might actually be able to get by on its
defense. No, this won't be one of the SEC's best, the talent level just
isn't there from top to bottom, but there as many future first-day NFL
draft picks as just about everyone else in the conference with linemen
Jeremy Jarmon, Myron Pryor, and potentially, Ventrell Jenkins, all
certain to make money, while corner Trevard Lindley might be the SEC's
At the end of the day, Kentucky has won bowl games in back-to-back years
for the first time since the 1950-51 seasons, it has more
NFL/SEC-caliber talent across the board than it has had in several
years, and considering where things were at just a few years ago, this
is a winning program that plays in the best league in the land. That's
What to watch for on offense: The quarterback situation. Curtis
Pulley was supposed to be the next big thing. A star recruit who was
considered to be a more athletic Tim Couch, he was a challenger for the
starting job from day one until Woodson took over and became special.
Pulley moved to receiver for a time and redshirted last year, and then
he was supposed take the job by the horns this spring when ... zzzzzz,
and then came the big boot. Kicked off the team for violating team rules, now the
focus is solely on Mike Hartline. Hartline, a tall, promising sophomore
bomber with a good arm, made it a race, and now he's the man who'll have
to take over and shine.
What to watch for on defense: The NFL scouts to set up shop in
Lexington. By the time the draftniks and their lists start to kick in,
assuming everyone is leaving early, DT Myron Pryor, a senior, and
juniors DE Jeremy Jarmon, ILB Micah Johnson, CB Trevard Lindley and FS
Marcus McClinton will all be considered among the top 15 prospects at
their respective positions. It's possible DE/DT Ventrell Jenkins
will also enter that group. For a defense that ranked last in the SEC in
points allowed, those six form a good base to start.
The team will be far better if …
the lines are better. There's no
excuse, absolutely none, for the huge defensive line that's full of NFL
prospects to be so bad against the run and to generate no pressure
whatsoever. There were sacks here and there, but there weren't nearly
enough big plays in the backfield. The O line was fine against the run,
but it was last in the SEC, and 104th in the nation, in sacks allowed.
The Wildcats aren't going to be as good as last year, but if they can
get by the rivalry date at Louisville they'll be 4-0 going into October
and the SEC opener at Alabama. Missing LSU and Auburn from the West is a
plus and considering the Florida and Tennessee games are likely losses,
they might as well be played on the road. It's a back-heavy slate
getting the Gators, Vols, and Georgia from October 25th on. Outside of
the date against the Cardinals the non-conference slate is a joke.
Best Offensive Player:
Senior OT Garry Williams. He has the NFL body and the strength to
possibly be a guard at the next level, but the 6-3, 300-pound veteran
can become a big-time pro prospect if he can grow into a steady pass
blocker. He has the tools, and while he might not be the best athlete,
he could make a big jump in production.
Best Defensive Player:
Jeremy Jarmon and Junior CB Trevard Lindley. Jarmon is a 285-pound end
with the moves and quickness of a much smaller player. While he needs to
be more of a consistent force in the backfield, he's on the verge of
becoming one of the SEC's best all-around ends. If Lindley isn't the
league's best tackling corner, he's a close second. He's not all that
huge at 6-0 and 175 pounds, but he doesn't miss a stop.
Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QB Mike Hartline. UK led the SEC in passing over the last two
seasons with Andre Woodson throwing for 3,709 yards and 40 touchdowns
last year. No one's asking for Hartline to be Woodson, but
considering how spotty the pass protection is, and with a nearly
brand-new receiving corps kicking in, the quarterback situation has to
The season will be a
... it's a third straight 8-5 season with a bowl win. It's not going to
be easy, but if the Cats can beat Louisville, Norfolk State, Middle
Tennessee, Western Kentucky and Vanderbilt, that's five wins right
there. Split at home against South Carolina and Arkansas and come up
with an upset on the road against Mississippi State or Alabama, win the
bowl game, and there you go. There's enough talent returning on defense,
and enough athleticism on offense, to make it happen.
Aug. 31 at Louisville. There's a reason everyone went bonkers over the
40-34 win over Louisville last year. For one, it's a rivalry game, and
also, it was the first time UK had won in the series since 2002, losing
four straight. With a joke of a non-conference schedule to follow, a win
in Papa John's would almost certainly mean a 4-0 start going into the
date at Alabama.
2007 Fun Stats:
- Punt return average: Kentucky 8.1 yards – Opponents 6 yards
- Kickoff return average: Opponents 23.5 yards – Kentucky 22.1
- Passing TDs: Kentucky 40 – Opponents 24