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Who is the Cats’ most consistent receiver? They may still be looking


Kentucky’s offense has Benny Snell. Kentucky’s defense has Josh Allen. Yes, there are obviously other major contributors, and guys like AJ Rose, Mike Edwards, Kash Daniel and Jordan Jones deserve recognition and respect. But, at the end of the day, Kentucky leans most heavily on its greatest strengths: No. 26 and No. 41.

The Wildcats can feel safe with their run game. No, the Texas A&M game wasn’t pretty, but Snell has fought his way to nearly the top of the Cats’ all-time leading rushers, and his eight rushing touchdowns are the most by any player in the SEC. It’s the passing game that is a different story.

UK’s passing offense is ranked as No. 14 – or dead last – in the SEC and No. 122 out of 129 across the country. And while that’s obviously disheartening, it’s not necessarily one player’s fault. In fact, there simply isn’t that “one” player.

Lynn Bowden is the obvious option for the Cats’ most consistent catcher – he has 27 catches for 273 yards (10.3 yards per catch) and two touchdowns this season. He’s had explosive moments and could be developed into a great receiver if the circumstances present themselves, but he’ll need to work to make that happen. He needs Terry Wilson to get him the ball, he needs good blocks and, perhaps most importantly, he needs to control his hot-headed tendencies. His inexperience creates inconsistencies and his youth can create drama.

On the other end of the spectrum, Kentucky fans have been waiting for (and looking forward to) senior CJ Conrad’s breakout season for what feels like decades. He’s shown moments of brilliance – the pass he caught against Mississippi State was nothing short of perfection – but for whatever reason, he has not been utilized as much as we all hoped he would be. Whether that’s a Terry Wilson issue, an Eddie Gran issue or the team simply needing his talents elsewhere, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is he’s averaging less than three catches per game and has zero touchdowns on the season.

Dorian Baker was another player the team was happy to have back this season. After two years of injury, the hype around Baker had finally returned and the BBN was ready to see him in action.  And yes, like Conrad, Baker has had a few memorable catches throughout the season, but he simply hasn’t been that consistent force the offense needs him to be. So far this year, Baker has nine receptions for a total of 100 yards and zero touchdowns.

Tavin Richardson, Ahmad Wagner, Zy’Aire Hughes, Josh Ali and Isiah Epps are all familiar names around the football program, but none of these players have emerged as the team’s main receiver this season. Next year, the Cats will be without Conrad, Baker and David Bouvier, so one of the younger guys will have to step up. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to start going to that guy, whoever he may be, now?

Even if the Cats aren’t able to find that one go-to guy, that could work in their favor. If opponent defenses aren’t sure where the Cats are going or who they’re going to, more options open up. The only issue? Someone has to be able to catch it.

Whether or not you believe the Cats are exercising all of their options on offense, it’s undeniable Kentucky must find a more consistent receiver in order to improve their passing game. Who do you think it should be?


@MaggieDavisKSR

Article written by Maggie Davis

26 responses to “Who is the Cats’ most consistent receiver? They may still be looking”

  1. Larkin123

    If we could just have someone hit a 12 yard pass, We would be a legit team and I’m afraid to tell you where I think we would be ranked… Because of the stakes I’d like to see the passing game try a few other folks, Hoak and Hughes…

    1. CombatMedic_98

      I’ve been hollering that for two years for Hoak…

    2. east-ky-boy

      I’m with ya!!!!

    3. CATandMONKEY

      If anyone on the coaching staff thought Hoak was the man – After having YEARS to learn the system, impress the coaches and team mates – in practice; He would be starting. Hasn’t happened. If Hoak gave us the best chance of winning he would be playing. Period.

    4. east-ky-boy

      I disagree. He just doesn’t fit the mode of what they want to do offensively. Gran wants a offense that is similar to a RPO. Just pass when we have too but mainly run the qb and the running back and add in the wildcat. Wilson is the best we have for that. Hoak would be best if we wanna go more of an pro style offense. Both are good at what they do. I just personally prefer the pro style better

    5. 4everUKblue

      Thank you C&M. Slater/Medic doesn’t know sh!t!

  2. USMC5150

    Richardson

  3. The Professor

    If Wilson is unable to move the ball the first 2-3 series a change has to be made. He looked like a deer in headlights last week. Every opponent will stack the line until he proves he is capable of hurting them with the pass.

    1. UoKFB PHAN

      Exactly!

    2. CombatMedic_98

      FACTS and stats are supposed to bring change and increase…I hope being DEAD LAST in the SEC wakes someone up…looks like TERRIFIED TERRY was a flop and the evidence is CLEAR we need a new QB. We are so OFFENSIVELY unbalanced it’s amazing we haven’t lost every game! I wanted an undefeated season this year. I identified one MAJOR weakness and that was the passing game. There has to be change at QB.

    3. 4everUKblue

      Hoak would’ve been sacked on every snap. You guys are idiots, especially Slater/medic

  4. Paw

    We have several capable receivers that can catch and move the ball if you throw it to them! Terry was way off his game last week and it hurt us ! Changing the QB is something they need to be ready and willing to do if you don’t at least try you will never know and we will never know if Gunner or Benny could have pulled us through to a win! Conrad and Bouvier those are my picks!

    1. KyZoneBlitz

      Wilson was off his game, but our WR’s failed to get open most of the game against a&m’s average secondary. I think the pass-rush also hurt us, and got into Wilson’s head early on, with all the blitzing, we had trouble all night in protection. I don’t think it will become a problem, in the first 5 games, Wilson made good decision, and escaped pressure fairly easily. He should BOUNCE back and have a nice game against Vandy.

  5. CombatMedic_98

    Noooo he was doing this stuff since day one! Even the announcers were telling him to throw the ball. A half-a-second is “feet” in passing…he hesitates TOO LONG and TOO MUCH!

  6. ukkatzfan

    Only time Bouvier is mentioned is when he is mentioned as one that won’t be back. Is article about next year or this year ?

  7. tmcclan16

    How can you have a consistent receiver when you have a quarterback that can’t get them the ball? Can’t throw for 90 yards a game and expect to win against upper level competition.

  8. east-ky-boy

    The saddest part of these comments (I agree by the way) is we have some legit receivers. And great tight ends! They are mainly used for blocking. I know Benny is a stud and by all means use him! But if we just had a quarterback that was a good game manager and make the simple passes and not stand around like he’s In quicksand then ….wow! The defense would have to back off of us and Benny would make them pay even more. Hoak (in my honest opinion) could do that.

  9. friendsofcoal

    Give Hoak a shot

  10. zoupman

    Gunner needs game snaps. Terry isn’t capable.

  11. Cmart0907

    Bonehead play calling. That’s the problem

    1. Trekkev

      I agree. Play calling against A&M was not good. I’ve watched the game twice since. Tried to be something we aren’t. Run to set up the pass, not the other way around. A&M did not stop our run game at all. Play calling did. Benny got yards. Of his first 3 touches, 2 went for over 8 yards. They just didn’t feed him enough. We did not have a 0 or negative run play (excluding QB sacks) until the middle / end of the 3rd quarter. Keep running it until they STOP it. I don’t get not going back to Conrad more after he gashed them 2 times on the opening drive. We should have won that game. Hopefully this is a lesson learned for the staff. Richardson and Bouvier are the most consistent pass catches we have.

    2. Cmart0907

      I think these coaches need designed route for these receivers to get open. They’re playing man to man. Throw the ball east and west for a screen play with no receivers infront to block for the receiver. No play action , no hurry up , no wildcat formation. Sit back and read the field and “hope” somebody get open. I don’t blame the receivers, nor Terry Wilson. These coaches gotta put these kids in a position to succeed. And they failed miserably against Texas A&M.

  12. Shively1978

    You can’t put it all on Terry. The blocking from the o line sucked in that game which didn’t give him time and our recovers failed to get open. Playing Hoak would be the same as Barker was the last few games he played sack after sack. I’d like to know why everyone thinks Hoak is the answer. If I was going to make a change it would be Clark. The problem with our offense is Eddie Gran trying to change our offense. There was so much talk about Am rush defense we went away from what works for us and also Conrad and Richardson need more targets. Richardson was big the last part of last year. If we are going to have a passing game he has to be a part of it cause truth be told Baker makes hard catches but overall using video game ratings his catch is a D

    1. east-ky-boy

      Reason we all think that is because he’s never given us a reason not too. Every time he comes in things look smooth as silk.

  13. Iamheasyouarehe

    Would really like to see Bowden get more touches.

  14. Jesus H. Chrysler

    D-Clark would throw the Rock around. He needs some snaps ASAP