Like almost every offseason, Kentucky is not the most talked about football team in the SEC. Most prognosticators will pick the Wildcats to finish fourth in the SEC, like they have in almost every year under Mark Stoops. Cole Cubelic is not “most prognosticators.”
The former Auburn team captain and current sideline analyst for the SEC Network has never shied away from sharing his affinity for Stoops’ program, particularly the offensive line. Just because John Schlarman is no longer coaching the guys in the trenches, Cubelic still believes the Big Blue Wall will the best front line in the SEC. When asked by Paul Finebaum who could be the SEC’s breakout teams in 2021, Cubelic called out Mississippi State and Kentucky.
“I think a lot of it comes down to quarterback. They’re going to have the best offensive line in the league entering the season. Chris Rodriguez might be the most underrated tailback in all of college football, and what’s the problem been for the Wildcats? Offensively it’s been wide receiver. They haven’t been explosive, they haven’t been able to separate and they haven’t had a real game-breaker there,” he said.
“Now you bring in a transfer in Wan’Dale Robinson, you bring in a transfer from Michigan State (Tre’Von Morgan) and you have multiple quarterbacks — be it Joey Gatewood, Will Levis or Beau Allen — that seemingly are going to be able to get the ball down the field in a little bit more of an efficient way. Liam Coen comes in as the offensive coordinator. He’ll bring some NFL flavor to that passing game and passing scheme.”
Cubelic echoes a sentiment shared by Freddie Maggard recently. Kentucky won the first full transfer portal offseason. Along with the new additions, despite losing Jamin Davis on defense, defensive coordinator Brad White is bringing a lot back, especially on the front seven.
“They’ve got almost everybody back on defense. Six of the front seven are back, the entire D-Line is back and speaking of guys who don’t get enough credit, Brad White has done an amazing job with the Kentucky defense the last two years and I just love the way Mark Stoops is building it. They can still be a physical, lunch-pail football team that adds a little bit more of a dynamic passing game because of the coaching staff that’s coming in and some of the new personnel they’ve been able to bring in.
“They’ve done a great job in the portal. Mark Stoops gets it. He knows that you’re not only going to have to fill gaps, but also get better through the portal and I think Kentucky has done that.” Cubelic added: “There could be a lot of wins sitting there waiting for a team like Kentucky.”
While most of the division remained stagnant or hit the reset button by hiring a new head coach, Kentucky took a step forward following the COVID-19 plagued 2020 season. If Coen can find a quarterback, the Big Blue Nation should love to see where the Wildcats stand once the dust settles in December.