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Kentucky offensive line misses cut for Joe Moore Award

Back in November, the Kentucky offensive line unit was recognized as one of the best in the country, as the Joe Moore Award has announced the Wildcats as one of 10 semifinalists for the Most Outstanding Offensive Line Unit. 

At the time, the selection committee had high praise for John Schlarman’s group:

“You can tell this is a coachable bunch. They all do a very good job of working their feet into position to get blocks sealed and hand placement has clearly been drilled into them because they are good at it.”

Today, though, the four finalists for the award were announced, and Kentucky was not included.

Instead, two other SEC units – Alabama and LSU – along with Ohio State and Oregon, served as the final contenders for the prestigious award.

The UK offensive line boasts three returning starters in junior center Drake Jackson, senior left guard Logan Stenberg and redshirt junior left tackle Landon Young. Also seeing action is senior Mason Wolfe, junior Luke Fortner, sophomores Austin Dotson, Darian Kinnard and Naasir Watkins, along with redshirt freshmen Kenneth Horsey, Nick Lewis and Quintin Wilson.

The offensive line has helped UK put together its fourth consecutive season of 2,000 or more rushing yards. The Wildcats have done this despite missing three departed starting linemen from a year ago, the school’s all-time leading rusher from last season, and this year’s top three quarterbacks are all injured – two are out for the season – and the starting QB is a converted wide receiver.

Four players have rushed for more than 500 yards this season: running back A.J. Rose, quarterback Lynn Bowden Jr., running back Kavosiey Smoke and running back Christopher Rodriguez Jr., including three with over 600 yards (Bowden, Rose, Smoke). Kentucky’s running game is averaging 274.4 yards per game, which leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally.

Comparing Kentucky to the other finalists – as pointed out by Rivals’ Jeff Drummond on Twitter – in the categories of rushing yards per carry and sacks allowed, here is how the numbers stack up:

  • Kentucky: 6.4 YPC, 16 sacks allowed
  • Alabama: 5.0 YPC, 12 sacks allowed
  • LSU: 4.9 YPC, 29 sacks allowed
  • OSU: 5.7 YPC, 31 sacks allowed
  • Oregon: 5.0 YPC, 23 sacks allowed

According to the official press release, “the Joe Moore Award voting committee judges solely on the following six criteria, which represent the collective benchmarks for the O-line position as determined by the committee and its combined 800+ years of playing and coaching experience: Toughness, Effort, Teamwork, Consistency, Technique, and Finishing.

“Evaluations for the finalists were made through weekly review of actual game film and offensive line coach-provided highlights and cut-ups on the DragonFly Division I Network. In addition, Stats Perform, the industry’s leader in sports data analytics, provides advanced O-line data and analytics to give context and clarity, and to help streamline the film evaluation process.”

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

8 Comments for Kentucky offensive line misses cut for Joe Moore Award

  1. 13th. Grade
    1:08 pm December 10, 2019 Permalink

    So instead of using empiric data, they have subjective criteria like “toughness?” Nuts and bolts, nuts and bolts….

  2. stevemotley
    1:11 pm December 10, 2019 Permalink

    That’s crap. I’ll take our O-line anyday over those teams

  3. CJKAssassin123
    1:28 pm December 10, 2019 Permalink

    I think our 7-5 record had a lot to do with it which sucks we are a much better team that what record shows. In fact the reason we are 7-5 is solely because of Terry Wilson going down with the patella tendon injury in week two of the season.

  4. J-Dub421
    1:34 pm December 10, 2019 Permalink

    So this award is crap, and they’re just going to give it to the o-line from one of the playoff teams or a traditional power team.

  5. dhard
    1:59 pm December 10, 2019 Permalink

    So our kids got hosed because they are not one of the “blue bloods.” Sounds about right.

  6. wesmorgan1
    3:58 pm December 10, 2019 Permalink

    So, apparently the criteria – Toughness, Effort, Teamwork, Consistency, Technique, and Finishing – are all intangible, touchy-feely, subjective things that allow the committee to justify any decision they care to make.

    They’ve only given this award since the 2015-16 season – and three of the four winners to date (Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma) were CFP teams.

    Just call it the “Best O-line in the CFP” and be done with it.

  7. Skooms
    9:42 am December 11, 2019 Permalink

    Yet another award that’s like the Heisman. Popularity contest among the Top 5 or so teams. Still waiting on an explanation why Tim Couch wasn’t a Heisman finalist. Just because a team has 5 losses, doesn’t mean they don’t have the best player or group position in D-1. It’s funny because I can still remember a few years ago when Lamar won it. He was the runaway favorite, yet losing the UK game almost cost him the award. I remember some analysts saying that if UL had taken one more loss, he wouldn’t have won. Let’s be honest, I don’t like UL, but it was obvious he deserved that award. It’s just as obvious that our O-Line should have been a finalist for the Joe Moore.

  8. Boro Boy
    10:53 am December 11, 2019 Permalink

    With what this Oline accomplished in multiple games running the ball less than 10 times ….It is amazing how underrated they are being treated…teams stacked the box against us knowingly we were not gonna pass and we still had over 400 yards rushing multiple games and over 500 against Louisville