If you watched the game against Louisville on Saturday (let’s face it we all did) you saw struggles from both quarterbacks complete with overthrown and underthrown balls that led to incompletions or costly turnovers. We all remember the one Whitlow threw near the end zone that was picked. Those throws fall on the quarterback’s shoulders, but we saw something else on Saturday too. Drops. Lots of drops and often at the most crucial times. Drops in the end zone and on third downs that would keep drives alive are painfully teasing and something Kentucky fans are all too familiar with. Yesterday during Matt’s interview with Coach Stoops, the Head Coach said something that caught my attention. Stoops said “The quarterbacks cannot do it by themselves.” He told Matt that while the quarterback play hasn’t been ideal, other players around them need to pick up their play as well. Paging wide receivers! That means you! Now while the Cats have some good young talent (freshman) who will have to progress, this team needs one pass catcher to step up. I will highlight a few of the guys who I think can and will step up.
(h/t Regina Rickert)
While Timmons official position on the roster is listed as “athlete,” he has been the best slot receiver the Cats have had on the team and continues to impress fans each Saturday making sure announcers call his name on the regular. With Kentucky in need of a go-to guy, Timmons seems like a viable candidate as a guy who can slip under zones and find open space to pick up yardage. Timmons is the type of athlete who just needs to get the ball in space and can make things happen. If Max or Jalen are struggling to get in rhythm or go downfield, a quick slant or screen out to Timmons could be the perfect weapon to get the passing game going. Plus, there is always the threat of Timmons making guys miss and busting big plays whenever he gets his hands on the ball. While Timmons may not be your typical over the top, jump ball receiver he can get lost in the defense and take advantage of his speed to wreak havoc on the opposing defense whether in the slot or even coming out of the backfield. If Timmons comes out of the backfield and ends up with a linebacker in coverage, I’ll take that match up all day. Get him the ball, the more the better. He can be THE guy going forward for the Cats.
(h/t Regina Rickert)
His name is Blue, I mean come on he is a natural fit to be a star at Kentucky. Like Timmons, Javess Blue is coming in to his first year at UK (JUCO) and has been given a lot of playing time with the receiving corps in need of immediate help when he arrived. Blue has the makeup of a true number one receiver that Kentucky could use as a weapon to stretch the field and open up space underneath for Sanders, Timmons, and other playmakers. We saw a glimpse of that against Miami (OH) when Javess got behind the Redhawk defense and Max hit him with a strike down the middle of the field. Once he got behind those defensive backs it was all over and he was headed to the end zone for an 87-yard touchdown. While Miami may not have an SEC caliber defense, it still shows the ability that Blue possesses to stretch the field. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him torching SEC defensive backs in the same fashion in the future.
Unlike Blue, who will have a shortened career at Kentucky after playing for a junior college, true freshman Jeff Badet will have all four years in Lexington to grow into the potential that is clearly waiting to be tapped into. Badet may not be the biggest target out there at an even six feet tall, but he seems to have ability to make a catch and break away from defenders with his speed. He isn’t quite the track star that Timmons is but he certainly is fleet of foot. In Neal Brown’s Air Raid offense, Badet will become a fixture in the next few years and will be an important outside target for whoever lines up under center for the Cats (hurry up Drew Barker!). He will be a guy who can make catches outside the numbers as well as go over the middle when called upon. He isn’t a slot receiver or a tall deep threat but he can get separation from defenders and hopefully catch the ball when it finds him for positive yardage. While he may not be the big play threat that the other two are just yet, he can be a reliable target for Max and Jalen this year if he can hold on to the ball. With defenses dealing with Timmons in the flat or over the middle, Badet could eat all day with eight to ten yard routes on the outside. In the coming years, Badet could be evoking memories of another Kentucky receiver who wore the number 13.