Kentucky (White) beat the Wildcats (Blue) 35-28. It was a brutal beginning to the game, but the kids got themselves under control and put on a decent showing. Here are some notes from the game:
-Quarterback Maxwell Smith looks a lot more confident and comfortable in offensive coordinator Randy Sanders’ offense. Besides a couple of forced throws that turned into interceptions, he knew where his receivers were going to be and how they would get in and out of their breaks. If I had to say there was a silver lining in a lot of bad football I saw today, it would be Smith and his prospects for the future.
-LaRod King didn’t play in today’s game, but he should only help a vastly improved wide receiver corps. DeMarco Robinson and Darryl Collins are proving to be valuable options on the outside for Smith. There was a lack of communication at the beginning of the game but that soon turned into a lot of production from both players.
-The linebacker corps will not be as good as next year, and how could it with the losses of Danny Trevathan, Winston Guy Jr., and Ridge Wilson. But these new kids are real. Specifically, Avery Williamson and Bud Dupree. They will carry the torch for the future and will do a very good job at it. Williamson is the hard-hitter and Bud Dupree is the athletic freak coming off of the edge of the defense. This has the potential to be an outstanding tandem.
-Punting looks like it will be one of the Achilles heels for the team next year. At the beginning of the game Coach Phillips had both punters punt from each side of the field, and I didn’t see one go over thirty yards. Seriously. There was not one punt during the game, both offenses were just going for it on fourth down. This is something to keep a close eye on going into next year.
-Even though there wasn’t any punt or kickoffs in today’s game, Joker seems like he has DeMarco Robinson firmly cemented in the kickoff and punt return role. Darryl Collins will probably help out, but Robinson looks like the man. Last year it was Winston Guy Jr. and Mychal Bailey, both had no business being back there.
-The offensive line looks a like it will struggle in SEC play because of its youth. They do a decent job in pass protection, but the run blocking was nothing less than atrocious. Smith will probably throw the ball A LOT this season.
–The tight end position will be a lot more involved in this upcoming season. And that could just be because of an overall increased passing attack by the Cats. Tyler Robinson, Anthony Kendrick, and Ronnie Shields all had a lot of involvement in the offense today. That’ll help Smith in his sophomore season. Security blankets, of sorts.
-The defensive line also looks like it will be better this year, one year older in Rick Minter’s scheme. Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph could both be forces this year if they can stay healthy. Taylor Wyndham has gained some weight and will be a little more equipped to play the five-technique position in the scheme. When Collins Ukwu gets back from injury they will have more depth and more playmakers.
….I’ll be back later with some post-game video and more recap from the game.
On, On, U of K.