As football season fast approaches, it’s time for the team previews to start rolling out in full force. And, while none of them quite rival Duncan Cavanah’s in depth and quality, it’s important to know what the experts are saying about the Cats heading into the 2010 campaign.
ESPN has taken on the burden of previewing Kentucky’s season in their Blue Ribbon College Football preview series, and though it’s technically privileged information for insiders only, if everybody promises not to tell on me I’ll give you some tidbits from what they have to say about Big Blue. Agreed? Good. Let’s go.
[on the QB’s] – [Phillips] insisted he wasn’t disappointed and could win with any of the three, even though it might limit the offense a little more if Newton or Mossakowski started because they lack Hartline’s experience. “They all commanded respect in the huddle and managed the line of scrimmage,” Phillips said. “All three were able to get themselves out of trouble with their legs. We can win with any of them.”
[Derrick Locke on his goals] – “I expect to do big things,” Locke said. “I don’t want to be known as an underrated player. I want my respect and what I have to do to get that, I am going to do it. When they line up and play us, I want them to know they have to contain him and watch this guy because he can do this and that. I want them to know I can do it all and I am not just a little, fast back.
“That’s one of my main goals this year. It’s about respect. If you get respect, numbers will come. I just want to get my respect. That’s it.”
[The Defense’s new approach] – New line coach David Turner has changed the way he wants the ‘Cats to play this year. “We were a read defense and now we are an attack defense,” said senior tackle Ricky Lumpkin (6-4, 292), who has 61 tackles in 31 career games. “It’s a completely different thing. We are watching and not reading. Even I had to convert back to attacking because I got so used to trying to remember so many steps and reading that it was hard to just attack.”
[DC Steve Brown on his DB’s] – Junior safety Winston Guy (6-1, 208) and senior cornerback Paul Warford (5-10, 206) are both returning starters. Warford has missed some time with injuries while Guy has been consistently inconsistent, which has frustrated Brown.
“Athletically, he is everything you want in a NFL player. But it is hard to play for me if you don’t know what you are doing all the time,” Brown said. “I explained to him that he is the last spoke in the wheel and he has to make sure that if all heck breaks loose, at least he makes the tackle. We can’t have him not knowing an assignment. He has got great ability and tremendous upside, but he has to take the steps to be more consistent.”
Kentucky will have an inexperienced offensive line and undersized defensive line — normally clear signals for problems in the SEC. However, UK has more playmakers and speed than in years past and now expects to win — a major turning point for this program.
Phillips’ fate could swing on the season-opening game with Louisville. Win that one and his first year could well end with another bowl trip. Lose and the second-guessing will begin.
See. Now you have something to talk about with all those girls at the bar tonight. And all you have to do is buy me a beer…and then drink it yourself because I won’t actually be there. You’re welcome. Enjoy your Friday night folks.