One of the biggest questions heading into this season is how Kentucky will replace Josh Allen. Defensive coordinator Brad White put it simply to start his press conference this morning: you can’t.
“You can’t replace Josh and we know that. Everybody knows that Josh was a real special talent, one of those generational type players. What we’ve got to do now is find the next one. Find the next guy that’s going to elevate his game.”
White, who spent six years with the Indianapolis Colts, likened the challenge to replacing Robert Mathis, who led the NFL in sacks in 2013 and was injured the following offseason. Instead of just one guy stepping up, the Colts dispersed the load throughout the defense and actually increased their sack numbers from the previous year. White hopes the same thing will happen at Kentucky this season.
“The thing that made Josh [Allen] so good was he went from seven sacks to seven sacks to seventeen. We’ve got a guy like Jamar Watson, Boogie, he had three his freshman year, five last year, and hopefully we can continue to push that number. That’s a guy we’re going to lean heavily on. Getting Josh Paschal back, that will be huge.
“And I’m really looking forward to seeing our interior pass rush really push their sack numbers and their hurries and their pressures. We’re going to try to affect a lot with those guys because when you have TJ Carter and Calvin Taylor and [Marquez Bembry] and then you bring in a [Kordell] Looney and a Phil Hoskins, we should be able to have some success interiorly. And then, when I look out there and I see guys like Kash [Daniel] and [DeAndre] Square, [Chris] Oats, and Jamin [Davis], inside linebackers that can blitz and cause all kinds of issues.”
Without Josh, everyone’s going to have to step up their games, or, as White put it, wear the hat.
“We talk about it all the time on defense, somebody on every down has to wear the hat. They’re going to have the tough down. What you want to do is put the tough down more often than not on the guys that are experienced or that can wear that hat. But there are going to be times within a game that everybody, no matter how young you are, how experienced you are, you’re going to have to wear the hat on that down and you’re going to have to rise to the occasion.”