Say hello to your new UK Offensive Starters
(Congrats to Matt Jones on finally getting some new pictures to put on the top of the website. Beisner and Drew Franklin are well deserved, as they have been with this site as long as any other writer. Wait a minute……is that accurate? Hold on a second…..let me check the KSR records. Hmmmmmm, it turns out I was wrong with that. Looks like somebody has been interning with the site for longer. Wonder why that guy doesn’t get the love? Must just be too good looking for the top of the website, and would overshadow the other 4 guys up there. That’s what we are going to go with.)
Going through the post-spring depth chart in the UK media guide made me realize that outside of the skill positions, UK has a whole bunch of guys who will be playing tons of snaps who the average fan has never heard of. For instance, the offense will be breaking in 7 new starters, including 4 on the offensive line. So, just to help you get to know these new guys backgrounds and previous experience, I will hit on a couple main points for each of the 7 new PROJECTED starters:
Matt Smith (6’4”, 288 lbs., Sophomore)
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
2009: Played in 6 games
Chandler Burden (6’4”, 291 lbs., Junior)
Hometown: Blue Ash, Ohio
(Note: Played defensive end his first 2 seasons at UK)
2008: Played in 6 games
2009: Played in 13 games, STARTED 3 games, made 9 tackles
Billy Joe Murphy (6’6”, 294 lbs, Junior)
Hometown: Monroe County, Kentucky
2008: Played in 8 games, STARTED 3 games
2009: Played in 13 games, mostly on special teams
Larry Warford (6’3”, 329 lbs, Sophomore)
Hometown: Richmond, Kentucky
2009: Played in 10 games, Named to All-SEC Freshman Team
Brad Durham (6’4”, 321 lbs, Senior)
Hometown: Mount Vernon, Kentucky
2007: Played in all 13 games, mostly on special teams
2008: Played in all 13 games, STARTED 3 games
2009: Played in all 13 games, STARTED 4 games
Nick Melillo (6’2”, 242 lbs, Junior)
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
2009: Played in all 13 games, 14 receptions, 44 yards
Gene McCaskill (6’0”, 192 lbs, Junior)
Hometown: Chester, South Carolina
2008: Played in 12 games, STARTED 4 games, 15 receptions, 181 yards
2009: Played in 13 games, STARTED 6 games, 17 receptions, 163 yards
Moncell Allen (5’7”, 232 lbs, Senior)
Hometown: New Orelans, Louisiana
2007: Played in 13 games, 11 carries, 39 yards
2008: Played in 12 games, 38 carries, 202 yards, 1 TD
2009: Played in 13 games, 47 carries, 228 yards, 2 TD
What do we take from this information? Well, I am very encouraged seeing that these are UK’s 7 new starters. Because:
-Both Durham and Allen have played in 38 or 39 games in their UK careers, meaning that they have serious experience, just not starting experience.
-2 of the 4 “new” starters on the offensive line have actually started AT LEAST 3 games a piece, but were just not the regular starters. I’m encouraged these guys know what being a starter feels like.
-I also am encouraged that no Kentucky offensive starters will be freshman. Every one of these guys have been in the program for AT LEAST 2 seasons (including redshirt years), meaning they should have a grasp of the system by now.
The offense this season will clearly revolve around the offensive line and how well they 4 new starters play from the get-go. The offensive skill guys are all top notch, but the QB’s and RB’s need the protection and holes to show off their skills. But these 4 new guys on the line are not exactly being thrown into the fire with no experience. As I have now looked at this more, I am actually pretty excited at the possibilities of this offense. If UK can figure out it’s QB situation, I fully expect this offense to be much better than it was the last 2 seasons.
So, in the words of Thomas Beisner: 11-1 is a possibility.