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The Answers to Five Burning Questions from Game One


There were many unknowns heading into the first game of the season.  Before the game I wrote about the five things we will learn from the team after seeing the team take the field.  Some of the questions produced positive results, while others led to disaster.

Can Kentucky Score?


Answer:  Yes

Kentucky scored 21 points in the first quarter for only the eighth time in school history.  35 points by halftime should be enough points to get you a win.  Ahead of the season Freddie projected they would consistently need around 32.  It should have been enough, but it wasn’t.  They needed at least one second half scoring drive, but failed to keep the ball out of the opponents’ hands.

How Potent is Gran’s Rushing Attack?


Answer:  Not even close

All indicators — multiple elite running backs, a skilled interior offensive line, an offensive coordinator that previous coached running backs — pointed to previously unseen success in the running game.  Instead the Cats only rushed for 96 yards.  To put that 96 into perspective, Kentucky rushed for less than 100 yards only three times last season.

It was an abysmal performance.  If UK ran the ball well, they could have possessed the ball long enough to keep Southern Miss’ offense off the field and off the scoreboard.  Instead of piecing together long drives, they only ran 14 plays.  Their performance on the ground was inexcusable and must dramatically improve.

Is Drew Barker the Answer?


Answer:  Most Likely  

Barker started strong, throwing for 4 touchdowns and almost 300 yards in the first half.  Nobody in the SEC passed for more yards in week one.  A high risk, high reward player, if he can mitigate mistakes and take care of the ball, the signal caller will not be the root of this team’s problems.

Was Shannon Dawson that bad?


Answer:  No

He’s probably getting more credit than he deserves for orchestrating the comeback, but his team did score 44 points and post 520 yards of offense.  He was smart enough to keep it simple, recalling how Kentucky could not repeatedly stop the run, leading to USM’s first SEC win since 2000.

Is the Front Seven that Bad?

Answer:  Kind of 

This answer is more complicated.  When an opponent rushes for 262 yards, the brunt of the bales should be placed on the front seven.  However the offense should not have kept them on the field that long, and not everybody in the front seven played poorly.

Matt Elam held his own for 60 snaps and was the best defensive lineman on the field.  However, the other two defensive lineman cannot get pushed off the line of scrimmage and lose containment so easily.  Jordan Jones had 19 tackles; Courtney Love had 9 but could he took on too many blockers.  Kobie Walker had a great first game in the stat sheet but he played like an undisciplined freshman, failing to contain the outside far too often.

There were some bright spots, but some positions cannot replicate their week one errors.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

4 Comments for The Answers to Five Burning Questions from Game One

  1. Cals Hoverboard
    9:42 pm September 7, 2016 Permalink

    Come on Nick, proofread your stuff dude. When we can’t even begin to make sense of a sentence, you lose us.

  2. PoopTooth
    11:13 pm September 7, 2016 Permalink

    Elite running backs? We are delusional… Is there speed and talent? Yes. Elite running backs run through and over opponents running north not east/west. The line can defintely take a lot of that blame… put them with a real o-line and you could make somewhat of an argument… but not elite lol

  3. derichgail
    8:08 am September 8, 2016 Permalink

    I agree with Cals hoverboard, please proofread before you post a journal piece.

    I recall Boom almost going house for a run and JoJo getting a TD. The point is that our passing game was so effective that the run wasn’t the right call the entire game.If you have nearly 100 yards rushing it doesn’t look good I’ll agree, but with a QB throwing almost 400 yds and 4 TDs you can understand why. Gran has shown us that he can put up big numbers, the problem is that he went conservative and tried to run in the second half and it didnt work. He should have kept attacking because we had them on the ropes.

    The defense couldn’t get off the field because they couldn’t get off the field. The offense had nothing to do with their performance on critical 3rd downs with PIs being called that could have ended their drive. If anything the defense was the reason the offense operated out of rhythm. Every teams offense will have 3 and outs so Im ok with that especially after putting up 35 points at halftime. However, I do recall the offense actually moving the ball in the second half, but a Barker TO caused us to hand it back. These things will happen in any game. POINT IS THIS: If we do anything this year it is going to be because we scored more points than the other team.

    First half the defense rushed played great d and got off the field and then the offense went back out and scored nearly everytime.

    Oh I almost forgot. IS it the offenses fault that a DB cant get and interception that bounces of his numbers and hits his hands? That was in the second half and would have gotten the defense off the field immediately and changing the momentum. Instead the defense gave SO.Miss great confidence by letting them march down the field in the opening moments in the 2nd half. I seriously doubt the players were gassed by that point.

    Com’on Man.

  4. derichgail
    8:19 am September 8, 2016 Permalink

    I still believe this team will upset someone and win enough games to go bowling. The problem that was exposed wasnt a depth problem because we have guys to fill the position if someone is tired. The problem is that the coaches don’t trust their reserves enough to put them in.

    What would have happened if Baity or Edwards werent inserted last year? Then, we would have never known what they were capable of in a game situation. Some guys are gamers and you cant tell that by looking at them or even practice sometimes.

    I know we all remember Josh Carrier, dude was lights out in practice all the time, but in a game he would shell up.

    This loss stings and it sucks that it happened so soon, but it could be a great thing because it highlights the real issue, which is THE COACHING STAFF DOESNT TRUST THEIR RESERVES IN SOME POSITIONS. It seems that the coaches are talking about it and learning enough to bring those guys in and give them a chance to play now.

    The important thing to remember is that if we would have won big in this game it would have been false because our flaw would not have been exposed like it was. In years past this situation would have take 6 games to get to because of our hot starts against lesser opponents. Now we are faced with a situation in which we have the talent on offense to be one of the most explosive teams in the SEC and a little bit than subpar defense. If we can correct the trust issues and just put people in and see if they perform well, who knows they might surprise you. Our offense is in place I can tell you that much. Our defense just needs to bring a 4th quarter effort every game and you will see this team win more than 6.

    Im still going with 7-5 and then a bowl win 8-5