The team has to be better on critical situations
Third downs were bad for both sides of the ball. The offense was 2-13 in third down conversions and only visited the red-zone twice. The defense allowed Dobbs and the Tennessee offense to convert on 8 of 15 third downs. Not being able to contain a mobile quarterback on third down has been frustrating for this Kentucky defense all season. For this team to get their sixth win, they absolutely need to better in critical situations.
The young guys are the ones producing on defense
There has been yet another change on the depth chart this week with Mike Edwards and Derrick Baity starting over veteran guys. Last week, these two players were listed as “or” but now hold the starting positions. The coaches have been reiterating the fact that it is all about production. The players who are producing out on the field are the ones that are getting playing time.
Special teams need to execute better
Special teams struggled on Saturday, which we have not really seen this season. Even without a special teams coordinator, the kickoff and punt teams have done exceptional jobs at getting down the field and making a play. Players struggled at defeating blocks that restrained their ability to get down the field. The kickoff and punt teams both gave up a touchdown returns in the third quarter. MacGinnis struggled to kick the ball through the endzone and Foster’s punts were low-hanging, line drives, which ended up being detrimental to the game.
Missed tackles were a problem
When you are playing talented players, it’s not unusual to see these types of players make you miss. To fix this tackling problem, you need to have more players around and making a play on the ball, which should come from the secondary. Joshua Dobbs and the talented Tennessee running backs were difficult for our defense to bring down on Saturday. If Kentucky wants to compete defensive in the SEC, they are going to have to learn how to make tackles on talented players because there are a lot more talented players in the SEC than Dobbs and Jalen Hurd.
“Predictable passing is not where you want to live”
The offense has been very good at two things this season: running the ball and action passes. Kentucky is not good at third down and longs. In order to be successful you need to stick with what you are good at. Running the ball and throwing off the action on first and second downs to gain a few yards has been key for the offense and allows us to move the chains. Our first and second down plays are more crucial for this offense than third downs because of our inability to convert on third downs.