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Best Case Scenario: Kentucky Defense

After going over what the best case and worst case for the Wildcat offense could be, it is now time to go over to the other side of the football.

Per S&P+, Kentucky’s defensive efficiency has decreased for three consecutive seasons after peaking at 50 behind Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith in 2014. In the three following years, UK has gone from 68th, to 83rd, to 96th as the Wildcats have seen three different primary play-callers struggle to find the mojo for the defense. Now with Matt House returning for his second season as the coordinator with nine starters returning, it’s time to find some answers.

With multiple future NFL picks set to start, it’s time for this defense to begin to produce. It’s been a long time since this program had a legitimate defense and if it doesn’t happen this year for Mark Stoops you have to start wondering if it will ever happen. Here’s what will happen if the bounces go Kentucky’s way in 2018.

  • With the loss of Joshua Paschal, there are questions as to whether UK has an impact player on the line and this is where Quinton Bohanna steps in. The mammoth sophomore his teammates call Big Bo bursted onto the scene as a true freshman and will become dominant force as a sophomore. Add this with improved play from T.J. Carter, Phil Hoskins, and Adrian Middleton and you’ll have a competent line who consistently makes plays at or behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Kentucky’s linebacker corps enters the season with high expectations but those are heavily reliant on two players. Both Josh Allen and Jordan Jones enter their senior years after impressive careers and will look to put their best foot forward in 2018. Jones gets back to his play as a sophomore as he records over 100 tackles and 10+ tackles for loss. Josh Allen makes a run at the program sack record as his play makes him a lock for the first round of the NFL Draft.
  • As high as the expectations are for the linebackers, they may be even higher for the secondary. The Wildcats return five seniors as Mike Edwards will go down as one of the best safeties to ever wear the blue and white. For 2018 to go to plan, Edwards keeps up his solid play while Derrick Baity becomes one of the best corners in the SEC. Lonnie Johnson and Chris Westry both make their fair share of plays while Darius West improves in pass coverage.
  • As a group, Kentucky holds opponents to under 170 rushing yards per game for the first time during the Stoops tenure as well as under 25 points. The front becomes serviceable while the back seven becomes one of the most productive in all of college football. With a deadly pass rush and seasoned secondary, Kentucky becomes one of the top turnover producing units in the SEC.

Put all these pieces together and UK will have a legit shot at eight regular season wins for the first time since 1984.

Article written by Adam Luckett

Twitter: @AdamLuckettKSR

10 Comments for Best Case Scenario: Kentucky Defense

  1. zoupman
    9:06 pm August 23, 2018 Permalink

    I’m afraid losing Josh took us from 8-4 to 6-6

    • cats646
      10:01 pm August 23, 2018 Permalink

      Man I hope you’re wrong. But he is a HUGE loss. I hate it.

  2. Cmart0907
    10:20 pm August 23, 2018 Permalink

    Start with putting pressure on the QB. These QBs be having all day to find a receiver.

  3. friendsofcoal
    10:32 pm August 23, 2018 Permalink

    Our D will be Kash Money!

  4. UKFootballYall
    7:42 am August 24, 2018 Permalink

    Not having Elam on the field anymore improves our defense exponentially. He was a good kid but was so ineffective that he compromised the entire front line of the defense.

  5. Jiminy Crickets
    7:54 am August 24, 2018 Permalink

    So what ur saying is… best case we don’t really have play makers on the line and the LB only has 2 guys. This secondary has been the worst in the history of UK football, and we return everyone. Last years defense significantly improved and was heads better than the year before, but we still ranked #91 ( just a shade better than old dominion) on total defense, and ranked #102 in passing yards allowed.
    To me this is most mind blowing stat….
    In last 70years of Kentucky football, only 5 teams have allowed opposing QBs to Complete at least 65% passes for the SEASON. 2 of those 5 defenses have occurred under Mark Stoops.
    Joker and Mumme had better statistical defenses than what Stoops has given us.
    Uncover 2

  6. Bluebloodtoo
    9:07 am August 24, 2018 Permalink

    Bursted is still not a word.

  7. bwise
    11:56 am August 24, 2018 Permalink

    This literally is best case isn’t it lol. Mike Edwards is so great for us because he leads the team in tackles every year….which isn’t good since he’s a safety. If he leads or is towards the top again in tackles it means our up front guys are once again not doing their job and causing mike to be the guy to finish the play 8 yards down the field. I’m waiting to see some actual games before I become as bullish as ksr and a lot of other analyst as this is always the case with Kentucky football.

  8. Jiminy Crickets
    2:36 pm August 24, 2018 Permalink

    You do know that this Kentucky defense allowed 175 yards per game on the ground. Ranking them number 78 in the country. This writer thinks best case scenario is we hold opponents to 170 yards per game, which last year would have ranked us #70

  9. Jiminy Crickets
    2:42 pm August 24, 2018 Permalink

    Do you know how we know that this actually is a best case scenario? Because there are 25,000 tickets available for the first home game which is a week away. The fans are not buying the hype, we want to see an actual football team take an actual field, and play an actual game, and play well.