Saturday Down South is profiling the subplots of teams from around the SEC and today they took a look at our beloved Wildcats. With excitement at a near all time high there are plenty of storylines to keep an eye on for the upcoming season. Here’s a bit of what SDS picked for the top stories to watch as the season unfolds:
1. Bowl game bound?
Any rational college football fan knows Kentucky may not have the depth or the players to notch six regular season wins. Although James Franklin at Vanderbilt and Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss inherited terrible programs and were able to accomplish the feat, Stoops has the tallest measure of any of the three. Not only is the roster depleted, but Stoops also has to go out and play one of the toughest schedules in college football.
I guess this is something to watch despite the odds of it happening being pretty slim. If the Cats go bowling in year one then Stoops will have lead one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the history of the sport. I’d expect the Cats to be bowling in year 2 but if a miracle happens next year then it’ll be party time in Lexington.
Kentucky has three of them in Max Smith, Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles. Smith is the gunslinger of the three, but Whitlow may give them the best opportunity to win now. The dual-threat Whitlow flashed ability last year and this spring, and he may be the front-runner to start against Western Kentucky week one.
For more on the biggest question facing Kentucky sports scroll on down a handful of posts. Seems like every year since Woodson left we’ve had a debate rage over who would be the starting QB. Once this starter is named I’d guess that this argument will be put to rest for a few years. Wait, Drew Barker will be on campus next fall? Expect this one to also keep going as four guys will be competing next year.
3. Defensive line
There are not many positions Mark Stoops feels comfortable about heading into fall camp, but one of the stronger units is the defensive line. Led by bookends Alvin Dupree and JUCO transfer Za’Darius Smith and tackles Donte Rumph and Mister Cobble, there’s some serious talent to work with.
The Cats may finally be able to hold there own against the great running backs of the SEC. Unfortunately they may not get too many chances to prove their worth as the secondary is a bit suspect. Still it’s nice to know we have at least one pillar to start building this program around.
4. Air Raid
Kentucky wants to throw the rock around the yard 40 times per game under new OC Neal Brown. I love the offense and the hire by Mark Stoops, making the Air Raid tough to prepare for week-in and week-out. Ironically, they may not have the depth at receiver to have that type of offense, but the Cats do have a bevy of depth at running back with Raymond Sanders, Jonathan George and Dyshawn Mobley.
SDS takeaway: Everything about Mark Stoops’ seven-month presence has been impressive. There’s momentum within the program that hasn’t been there in a long time, and the players seem to believe they can accomplish something special this season. I love where the program is headed. The over/under is set at 3.5, and I’m taking the over. I’m a believer. I’ve bought into Big Blue.