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Five Concerns Heading Into Spring Practice and NSD

UK Athletics

Mark Stoops is still searching for consistent QB play. (UK Athletics)

Mark Stoops is still searching for consistent QB play. (Photo via UK Athletics)

The Defensive line’s pass rush

When defenses have to rely on blitzes from defensive backs and linebackers to influence opposing quarterbacks, vulnerable voids strain pass coverage. UK must somehow manufacture defensive line of scrimmage pass rush. 2015 UK defensive linemen only totaled 5.5 quarterback sacks.

Linebacker unity and communication

Let me make this clear, the linebacker position is not a concern. 2016 will actually be the first season that DJ Eliot and Andy Buh will have quality depth across the board. But, there will be two new starters at inside linebacker as well as open competition outside. UK’s front seven could potentially look different than in prior years. LB talent will be upgraded, but it will take time to collectively mesh.

Consistent quarterback play

The new offensive coordinator can remedy this uneasiness. A diverse and balanced offensive system that maximizes current personnel strength can lessen quarterback strain. A 16 interception to 10 touchdown ratio must improve going into 2016.

Receiver consistency

There were stretches in 2015 when the Wildcat pass catchers left the BBN awestruck. Down the stretch, not so much. A fresh perspective from a new receiver coach and offensive coordinator may motivate the highly skilled group into maximizing on the field talent. Just a hunch, but I think this pre-spring concern will transition to a fall strength.

Offensive tackle pass protection

Reverting back to quarterback inconsistency, on far too many occasions Wildcat quarterbacks had less than 1.5 seconds to make a read. Matter of fact, UK surrendered 30 quarterback sacks. Take notice of this position during the spring game. There’s no way around it, to enjoy offensive success, OT’s have to play at a much higher level in 2016.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

3 Comments for Five Concerns Heading Into Spring Practice and NSD

  1. Old Henry Man
    12:02 pm December 24, 2015 Permalink

    The O-Line is my only concern. The D-line has some questions, but I look for several players to break through. In a 3-4, the LB’s have to get the pass rush and they failed to do so last year. The DB’s should be some of the best UK has ever had. Depth at RB is good with a superstar in Boom Williams. Barker will be Good. The receivers are talented, but need to hold on to the ball.

  2. psacatfan
    12:42 pm December 24, 2015 Permalink

    I wantto see more organization on the sidelines. I can’t tell you how many times I saw Matt Elam run off the field only to get to the sideline and then run right back to his defensive positon. No wonder he couldn’t muster enough energy for a pass rush. Sideline was a mess.

  3. blueballs80
    12:45 pm December 24, 2015 Permalink

    Ah Freddie, you also forgot about Coaching!! That has to improve leaps and bounds as well. The OL will be experienced minus the left tackle position