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Previewing the Cats and Colonels

uk-eku

Since this summer, UK vs. EKU has been an anticipated game for mostly the wrong reasons. However, tempers have since cooled.  Kentucky’s 3-1 start has enhanced BBN expectation. Senseless retaliation is trumped by bowl aspirations. Both Mark Stoops and Dean Hood have pledged to squash pre- and during- game extracurricular activities. Finally, the actual football game is upon us.

Let’s take a look at the position-by-position advantages and breakdowns:

OFFENSE

EKU employs the spread offense with multiple receivers. In appearance, it looks similar to Missouri. Former Georgetown star Dane Damron is the offensive coordinator.

Quarterback: Kentucky

Patrick Towles is coming off a career game. He passed, decided, and led the Cats to a 21-13 win over the SEC East’s defending champs. How his performance carries over will be interesting to watch. Last weekend could have been that breakthrough performance that set a new expectation norm for the Wildcat signal caller. Backup Drew Barker will play. I’m anxious to watch.

EKU is led by Cincinnati transfer Bennie Coney. Coming off an impressive 28-for-35, 261-yard performance against Austin Peay, Coney is that dreaded dual-threat quarterback that has traditionally given UK fits. However, this Wildcat defense has shown to adjust and has the speed to counter.

Running Back: Kentucky

Boom Williams’ status is uncertain. Moving on. Last Saturday, JoJo Kemp carried the offense and Tiger defenders on his back. Mikel Horton and Sihiem King will also get much-needed carries.

Former Wildcat and 2014 OVC Player of the Year Dy’Shawn Mobley is dealing with a lingering leg injury and is questionable for Saturday. EKU still has Bourbon County’s Kentayvus Hopkins, Florida transfer Adam Lane, and Ethan Thomas.

Offensive Line: Kentucky

Several Wildcat offensive linemen are healing up, but through strategic recruiting and player development, Coach John Schlarman has game-proven depth in the trenches. Coming off an impressive outing against the SEC’s top defense, expect sustained confidence and execution from the big guys up front.

EKU’s offensive line starters: Brett Eyckmans, Ryan Garretson, Colton Scurry, Josh Minor, and Justin Adekoya.

Wide Receiver: Kentucky

Skill is there. Speed and size accompany. Versus Missouri, production met potential. Saturday could bring on an onslaught of explosion plays. Wide receiver depth will get its chances as TV Williams, Thaddeus Snodgrass and others will see game action.

Eastern Kentucky receiver Jeff Glover is 6-5. His running mate Devin Borders, 6-6. That height can present problems.  Colonels receiving leader is Joel Brown with 11 catches and one TD. Versatile Aarien Beasely is a dangerous threat at the slot. The 2015 National Guard Border Bowl MVP has impressed as a true freshman.

Fullback/Tight End: Kentucky

CJ Conrad and his three catches for 55 yards and a touchdown finally surfaced as an offensive weapon. Taco Meat Collins’ knockdown block against All-World linebacker Kentrell Brothers will be a highlight for the season.

Eastern tight end and Pineville native Ben Madon has five catches for 70 yards.

DEFENSE

EKU runs a 3-4 defense with emphasis on defensive end Noah Spence’s pass rush and run game disruption.

Defensive Line: Kentucky

In the past eight quarters of football, CJ Johnson has willed his way into becoming unblockable. Farrington Huguennin has played virtually every snap of the season and done so consistently. Melvin Lewis did not see much action against Missouri due to scheme. As a whole, the Wildcat line has exceeded expectation. Reserves will play. Adrian Middleton, Courtney Miggins, and Matt Elam could see significant snaps.

Kentucky has seen its share of elite pass rushers. Saturday will feature yet another in Noah Spence. The Ohio State transfer was a five-star recruit that started 13 games for the Buckeyes before transferring to Eastern. Spence is EKU’s second-leading tackler and he has registered three sacks. In the Colonels’ last game, Spence had eight tackles, one sack, and two tackles for loss. Henderson County’s Avery Pitt has registered one sack.

Linebacker: Kentucky

Ryan Flannigan’s return changed defensive dynamic. Ryan is a “5-Yard Player.” Instead of making a tackle two yards downfield, Flannigan has the ability to turn that same play into a three-yard tackle for loss. Josh Forrest is adding dollars to his draft stock in each game he plays. Jason Hatcher and Denzil Ware are disruptive against both the run and pass. The foursome played lights out against Missouri.

Kansas State transfer linebacker Devonta Derricott leads the Colonels in tackles and is an active and aggressive football player. He’s joined by Newport Catholic’s Chris Kelley, Trey Thomas, and Marquise Piton.

Secondary: Kentucky

AJ Stamps may not have the interception numbers most expected, but his steady play in the last line of defense allows DJ Eliot the leeway to call aggressive blitz packages. Joining him at safety is the ultra-improved Marcus McWilson. Chris Westry continues to grow and Cody Quinn has silenced critics.

EKU’s Tyrell Curry and Stanley Absannon lead the Colonel secondary. They’re joined by Deno Montgomery and Coby Grace. As a team, EKU has intercepted three passes on the season.

Special Teams: Kentucky

The coordinator-less Wildcat special team units have excelled. Now the SEC’s second-leader in kickoff coverage, the Cats are playing at a high level. Landon Foster needs to find his groove and punt returns have been shaky.

EKU’s Stanley Absannon averages 17.2 yards per punt return. Perspective, that number doubles UK in that department. He also runs back kickoffs and averages 27.2 yards per return. Kentucky will have to be aware of punt/kick placement as Absannon is a dangerous open field runner.

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?

UK has the talent advantage at each position group, but EKU has significant skill at certain positions. Elite defensive end Noah Spence is a future pro and will have to be accounted for during every offensive snap. The Cats should win, but will still need to play a clean and motivated game.

*Heartfelt prayers for the EKU Football program and the family of Joey Kraemer.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

29 Comments for Previewing the Cats and Colonels



  1. Simon says
    12:39 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

    Great that the coaches have already decided to play Barker in this blow out to be. Would be comical if it’s a close game going into the fourth quarter and Barker comes in because the coaching staff said he was going to play. If I was EKU I would have that posted all over my urinals.



    • Simon Says Says
      1:52 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

      Simon, I may be mistaken but it looks like Freddie is just saying Drew will play and that the coaches didn’t make that statement. So no urinal material



    • LMAO
      11:26 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

      Simon, 1-3.

      L1C4nicate



    • CatsFanFrankfort
      11:13 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

      No, actually Simon is right. During his press conference earlier this week, Stoops said he was going to work Barker in. Lighten up, jackasses. I don’t like the tenor of Simon’s post either, but just because he says this, you assume he is a Louisville fan? Why the hell do people on this site just automatically assume one MUST be a UofL fan because one posts something that might not agree 100% with your opinion or might be the slightest bit contrarian?

      (Of course some people will now think I am a Louisville fan. I shudder at that very thought, but there ya go)



    • Brian
      12:46 pm October 3, 2015 Permalink

      Because we are used to it usually being Tard fans posting stupid or snarky shit.



  2. John
    12:53 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

    Freddie, I think you’ve proven to be a great benefit to this site, and an excellent contributor. I enjoy reading both your previews and post-game analyses.



  3. GuyInTheCorner
    12:59 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

    UK season ticket holder and EKU Alumni here.

    I was able to see EKU play in their Thursday night opener and watched them against NC St.

    For EKU Spence is the real deal. He looks like an NFL end and is always in the backfield. UK will have trouble blocking him and he will be a bright spot on a defense that should struggle against UK.

    Absannon is also a huge talent in the secondary and is VERY explosive returning punts.

    Coney is a good FCS QB but will struggle.

    EKU is loaded at running back but they all have been banged up all year. If healthy they could provide explosive plays for EKU but even then they will have limited success but EKUs O-Line just isnt very good.

    Prediction:

    UK – 34
    EKU – 10

    It wont be close until the 4th quarter when UK puts in some reserves and one of EKUs playmakers breaks free for their only TD.

    Go Cats and Go Colonels (just not this Saturday)!



    • Please
      1:18 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

      You paid EKU for your degree but cheer for UK? Sounds like you are related to Matt Jones. I went to UK and cheer for them.



    • fatbrat
      1:23 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

      The University of Tennessee paid for my education and I am a huge UK fan! It really doesn’t matter where you go to college! It’s all about the BBN!!



    • CatsBy80
      1:29 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

      I paid Transy for my degree and cheer for UK. What is your point?



    • novalsi
      2:22 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

      Hey Please I went to school in Western New York but we didn’t have a football team (well, since 1973, when it was coached by Tom Coughlin)

      Anyway, even though I’m from Lexington, I was wondering if I could get your permission to cheer for the Cats?



    • 90 Bigguns
      3:49 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

      I paid UofL for 2 degrees but still cheer for Kentucky, especially in football. Sorry I can’t be an Elitist Alum, but I prefer to cheer for the team I grew up with and that has given me so many great & painful memories.



    • Patrick _Wren
      8:54 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

      I too……paid EKU for my degree. But bleed BBN through and through! So…..bite me!



    • CATandMONKEY
      9:36 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

      Paid U of L for an undergrad degree; UK for my graduate/professional degree. My wife graduated from Western. We are an ALL Blue household. Fans such as Please who make dimwitted comments embarrass all of BBN.



    • CatsFanFrankfort
      11:16 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

      Do you cheer for any professional teams, Please? Did you work for or play for those organizations? Obviously not.

      Thus, your entire point is invalid.



  4. fatbrat
    1:18 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

    Seems like Dy’Shawn Mobley can’t buy a break! I am still a huge fan of Mobley and hope he plays on Saturday. Go Cats!



  5. GuyInTheCorner
    1:50 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

    Please – I went to EKU but no I did not pay them for my degree. I had a scholarship there. I spent 4 years at EKU but have been a Kentucky fan my whole life.

    Like the others have said. It does not matter where you go to college. It’s all about the BBN!!!



  6. St. Paul Raiders
    3:27 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

    I’m sure this comment will get blasted in a similar fashion to those of the grammar police, but I think it’s in poor taste to use an asterisk at the end of the post to acknowledge the passing of the young man from EKU’s team. I KNOW Freddie meant no disrespect, but it conveys an “oh by the way” feeling regarding the matter. Again, I know no one meant any disrespect, but it seems to me that in a post of this sort if the writer has chosen to mention it then he/she should give it its due and mention it in the opening. On the other hand simply making no mention of it also seems completely acceptable. I apologize for picking nits, but it bothered me a bit to see it thrown in at the end with an asterisk.



  7. Mountain Due
    3:42 pm October 2, 2015 Permalink

    Is Taco Meat still paying his own way?



  8. tdogg40330
    12:57 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

    Duhville Cat, you out there ???



    • Sup Tdogg
      7:57 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

      Yep, sure is quiet around here today…. #L1C4nicate!



    • tdogg40330
      8:08 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

      Haha, hollar sometime, I’ve lost ya # man



  9. Kyking1
    2:48 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

    http://m.imgur.com/zHnFLXc

    Kevin ware with 2 known hookers at a “mansion party”



  10. Kyking1
    2:48 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

    More to come



  11. Dano
    6:24 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

    This will be a huge blowout that will give the “young-uns” a chance to get significant time and valuable experience. It will also give us 10 days to rest up before we beat Auburn.

    Freddie is a great addition to the KSR team, but I cannot understand his views on the O Line and Cody Quinn. Seems like every time I see Quinn he is giving up a catch or TD, while the O Line has struggled all year. I would agree it is a little better, but more through attrition than anything else as Mr -5 is now injured. Maybe someone who knows more about football can help me figure it out.



  12. fatbrat
    6:38 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

    I agree Quinn is the weal link in the UK secondary. I don’t know why he thinks the critics have gone silent, he was the topic of conversation in my pod last Saturday.



  13. Freddie
    8:41 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

    Vs. SEC, UK giving up 16 ppg. 5/13 TD’s in red zone. Bending not breaking. In my take, Quinn vastly improved playing well. Coaches have said same, but you certainly don’t have to agree. OL with 4 soph and 1 jr rolled up 369 yards against SEC #1 D. I’d consider that being an efficient OL performance. Thanks for reading.



  14. Freddie
    8:45 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

    Also have to consider the high talent level behind Quinn. By him playing efficient, not dominant football, UK program building for future with Baity, Jackson, Beckham redshirting. Build programs by seniors playing within defensive system with excellent safety play over top and red shirting ultra talented rookies.



  15. TD
    10:34 am October 3, 2015 Permalink

    Ouch , killing them with stats Freddie