Photo courtesy of Regina Rickert
We can all agree that Kentucky’s offense left something to be desired last Saturday. It was obvious that the Air Raid offense struggled against the Cards, but I want to stay away from that as much as possible. The Coaching Staff understands the problem, and I have faith that UK will be more prepared when the Gators come crawling into Commonwealth Stadium in nine days. What I want to do today is share with you three offensive plays that have #BBN optimistic about the future of this program.
“The Timmons Out-Route Shuffle”
The “Timmons Out-Route Shuffle” really displays the kind of talent UK’s offense will have for years to come. If you’ve ever hoped to see another Randall Cobb-ish receiver play for Kentucky again, you may like what you’ve seen thus far from freshman WR Ryan Timmons. In the play above, we have #13 Jeff Badet lined up out left, who will run a streak route to pull the corners back. #1 Timmons will run a very quick out-route from the slot and catch the pass from QB Max Smith. From here on out, it’s all up to Timmons to gain some yards after the catch. Oh boy, he will do just that! With his explosive quickness, he will cut back right down the sideline and completely take his covering defender out of play; “see ya!” From here he has to deal with Badet’s defender, as well as the ROLB coming over to help. “You’re not tackling me”, says Timmons. Shuffle time!
The end result of the play was a 25 yard gain, and another “First down, Kentucky!” Timmons was finally tackled at the 24 yard line by Louisville’s free safety, which would later set up a field goal for Kentucky’s first 3 points. When looking for positives on offense, I’m sure Neal Brown had this play circled. The play was designed for maybe 10 yards at the most, but the speed & elusiveness of Timmons allowed it to go for a lot more. Anytime your offense can put together big plays of 20+ yards, you can’t help but be optimistic. Timmons is here for at least another 2 years following 2013, so think big picture #BBN.
“The Mojo Jojo 2-Gap HB Draw”
Next, we have yet another big play from a Kentucky freshman. Freshman RB, #3 Jojo Kemp, scooted for a huge 48 yard run that would later set up UK’s second field goal of the game. The play begins out of the shotgun formation with Jojo lined up to Whitlow’s left. Kentucky also has a three-receiver stack to the same strong-side. When the ball is snapped, Whitlow will hand the ball to Kemp, who will then hit the 2-gap between the center, #72 Jon Toth (redshirt freshman), and the guard, #79 Kevin Mitchell. The following are two positives that we can gain from this play:
1. The key blocks from the guard and center. Freshman center, #72 Jon Toth, makes a quick decision to pull back left at the right moment to pick up on a loose linebacker. At the same time, #79 Kevin Mitchell makes a play-making block on the LOLB. Kemp is able to squeeze right on by, allowing him an extra 10 yards of running room in the process. As you see below, this hole provided Kemp with all the necessary room to show his stuff.
2. The strength and quickness of Jojo Kemp. Once Jojo was given the open lane, he had about 8 yards to decide where he wanted to go with the ball. He could’ve juked left, risking a linebacker or corner from the strong side to immediately bring him to the ground. Instead, he juked to the right, stiff arming the poor Louisville safety to the ground. After this, it was off to the races. He burst down the sideline for about 40 yards, then attempted another juke before finally being tackled at the 36 yard line. I don’t know about you, but every time #3 gets the ball, I can’t wait to see what he does next. He was another freshman coming up big in a rivalry game.
“The Montgomery Canal”
Finally, how can I not include the only touchdown scored against the Cards? The third positive play from last Saturday is none other than “The Montgomery Canal”. Are you starting to notice the trend? All three “big” offensive plays were made by freshman Wildcats. This time it’s freshman WR Alex Montgomery, as he canals his way between the Louisville secondary for his first career touchdown. The play begins in a variation of the pistol, with Whitlow at QB, joined in the backfield by #3 Kemp and #39 Warren. It’s a quick 2-step drop from Whitlow, who looks for Montgomery in the back of the endzone. The defender covering Alex is in zone coverage, as is the strong safety. As soon as the ball is snapped, Montgomery weaves around the LOLB and squeezes between the CB & SS, finding the open area in the endzone. All Whitlow has to do is lob it to the back and boom, “Touchdown Kentucky!” Terrific zone reads from both Whitlow and Montgomery. He picked up on the blitz and saw that the secondary was in zone coverage. That is what you call a textbook read from watching game film.
A loss will always remain a loss, but finding positives can go a long way, especially for a team looking to rebuild. With all three of these plays coming from true freshman, I like the direction UK’s program is heading. Just imagine when players like Drew Barker arrive on campus– I can’t wait!