A new theory has begun gaining momentum amongst the message boards, and I felt it was worth investigating a little further, and that is the thought that UK’s complete lack of effectiveness on the defensive line is due to a lack of size. First, let’s be clear that defensive lines across the country are ALL smaller than your average offensive lines. I would bet that Alabama’s defensive line is smaller than Western Kentucky’s offensive line. So, it’s not just pure size that makes a successful defensive line.
But, the argument is that UK’s defensive line is smaller compared to OTHER SEC defensive lines is an interesting argument. So, I compared UK’s average height and weight on the defensive line against those of their SEC opponents at this point.
Dequin Evans: 6’3”, 256 lbs
Ricky Lumpkin: 6’4”, 306 lbs.
Mark Crawford: 6’1”, 293 lbs.
Taylor Wyndham: 6’4”, 238 lbs.
Average: 6’3”, 273 lbs.
Florida: 6’4”, 276 lbs.
Ole Miss: 6’2”, 277 lbs.
Auburn: 6’3”, 277 lbs.
South Carolina: 6’5”, 275 lbs.
Georgia: 6’2”, 287 lbs. (only play with 2 defensive linemen)
Mississippi State: 6’4”, 283 lbs.
Vanderbilt: 6’2”, 265 lbs.
Now, on the one hand, you look at Vanderbilt being the smallest defensive line by 10 or so pounds, and then see they are in last in the SEC, and it makes you think maybe there is something to this theory. But, Kentucky is within 4 pounds of everybody not named Mississippi State, and they only have 2 conference wins. Auburn has a very averaged sized defensive line and is undefeated. Georgia has the biggest defensive line, although only playing 2 downed linemen, and they might not reach a bowl.
I think what these numbers do tell us is that the theory that UK has a small defensive line is a MYTH. But, what UK is clearly missing is a SKILLED defensive line. The starting front 4 have a combined 7 sacks in 11 games. SEVEN!!! Maybe it has to do with speed, something that Joker Phillips says they are recruiting. It’s hard to put your finger on what exactly the problem has been. But the one thing we can absolutely determine is it does not have to do with size.