As football season continues to inch closer and closer (38 days!) the summer debates begin to heat up. Today’s topic? Which position is most important for teams to be successful. That’s what was brought up when Coach Stoops was talking to Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com and here’s what the head man had to say”
“There are two groups,” Stoops told ESPN. “I think we need to continue to develop at wide receiver and have that youth that I was just talking about play to the level that I expect them to. I feel like there’s good talent there, and a lot of the talent is going to be sophomores. If they have the growth I expect, that will be key.
“And if I could piggyback — and I’ve made no bones about it — we need to continue to play better in the secondary, in particular at corner. Part of that is finding guys that can cover one-on-one. That’s where we need to continue to recruit and continue to develop players. We have to be able to hold up outside.”
The wideouts are a crucial cog in the air-raid offense and Patrick Towles finally has some legit depth to target. Ryan Timmons has ranked as the first or second leading receiver in his first two seasons in Lexington in spite of crucial drops and nagging injuries. Garrett Johnson, Dorian Baker, and Blake Bone all enter their sophomore year after each showing flashes of the spectacular during year one. Jeff Badet returns from a freak tennis ball to the eye injury and Alex Montgomery is back from a torn ACL. And you can’t forget new targets like Thaddeus Snodgrass or Jabari Greenwood that have the potential to make a major impact.
Bottom line, Kentucky hasn’t had a receiver total over 600 yards for the year since Randall Cobb and Chris Matthews were on campus back in 2010. Now you have six guys that have a legitimate shot at eclipsing that mark. The offense is going to depend on their ability to make plays so its no wonder Stoops considers them c0-headliners this season. I think with our personnel that shouldn’t be a problem.
The secondary kind of is what it is. While the offense should be much improved the defense is likely to take a step back from last year. The cornerbacks were lucky last season that they had Bud Dupree and Za’Darius rushing opposing quarterbacks and taking the pressure off of them. This year they won’t have that luxury. There is talent all over the defensive side of the ball but there should be plenty of growing pains for guys like Jaleel Hytchye and Jared Tucker.
The best part about all those guys I just named? There’s not one senior among them. That means these guys Stoops calls most-important will be back for next season and beyond.