I have to admit, this summer has been an absolute blast. When I first started posting on KSR, I was concerned that I’d run out of topics prior to the season’s start. The exact opposite happened. Recently I’ve posted two Top 10 lists and a seven ULL predictions piece. As we creep closer to fall camp, I thought I’d discuss my five most pressing summertime concerns/questions:
–Where are the JUCO’s?
In a late Signing Day surprise, UK signed Pearl River defensive lineman Courtney Miggins. Expected to immediately contribute at defensive tackle or defensive end, recruiting experts described Miggins’ signature as an instantaneous upgrade in defensive depth. I agreed. Alvonte Bell was signed to influence opposing quarterbacks. When their faxes came through on Signing Day, upstairs of the Nutter Center collectively erupted.
But to my knowledge, neither Miggins nor Bell have reported to campus. Ryan Flannigan’s late 2014 arrival should serve as a reminder as to the imperative nature of early JUCO arrivals. The longer their absence continues, the more uneasy I become.
–Freshmen defensive back development.
Derrick Baity, Kei Beckham, Will Jackson, Marcus Walker, and Chris Westry are arguably UK’s best defensive back class in recent history. By their Signing Day addition, Stoops and Marrow narrowed down a personnel weakness (CB) while instantaneously upgrading the position’s talent. But, which rookies will play? Who redshirts? How have they adapted to college competition? All questions that will impact the season’s win-loss column. In 2014, cornerback concern resonated. This class was signed to produce.
-CJ Conrad’s surgery recover.
Tight end production has been missing. Not exactly breaking news. CJ Conrad and Darryl Long are expected to correct a problem that has plagued the Wildcat offense since Jacob Tamme’s departure. Conrad underwent off-season sports hernia surgery. Recover time and his ability to participate in preseason camp are pressing matters. Without Greg Hart’s eligibility confirmation, UK is dangerously thin at TE. Not to fret, Shannon Dawson prefers to play with four receivers. However, Conrad’s health is paramount. I am also extremely high on Darryl Long. Regardless of who starts, a TE talent increase will be obvious.
-Why are folks stressing about the stadium?
Seat in place, check. Functional scoreboard, check. Two upright goal posts, check. 100 yard painted field, check. Operational bathrooms, check. Ok, what the heck else do you want? I could care less about chandeliers and ceiling fans. The missing point here is that the university has ponied up cash and commitment to the football program. If it’s uncomfortable at first, so be it. As a long time complainer of the financial discrepancy in UK’s two revenue producing sports, I’ve voiced frustrations throughout the years. UK administration has done its part and then some. Just play the darn game already. If amenities are an entertainment necessity then go to the Versailles Krogers after the game. Now that’s a construction master piece. Trust me on this one. It’s going to be ok.
– Will the silence continue?
Innately during the summer, a vast portion of UK related media folks are dialed in on basketball related events and stories. A football void is routine and expected. Kentucky Sports Radio site has led the way and has provided an abundance of football material. Hat tip to Tyler’s SEC Media Days excellence. However, during this time of the year, actually no news is good news. This summer has been free of DUI’s, bar room brawls and bb gun fights. With free time running out prior to being locked down for camp, the last couple of weeks are dangerous. The very last thing Kentucky can afford is to lose a player from summertime stupidity.
Those were just five of my summertime concerns/questions. That list will exponentially grow come 6 August. We’re getting close.