It was hard to feel too down about Kentucky’s 34-6 loss to Alabama in Tuscaloosa, especially after the Crimson Tide’s star tackler Jonathan Allen gave the Cats some of the strongest praise they’ve received in years in his postgame remarks.
“That’s probably one of the most physical games I’ve played since I was in college. I have to give Kentucky a lot of credit,” Allen said.
Fast forward a month and Kentucky’s quickly developed a reputation as one of the most physical teams in the league — yes, for real. On Monday, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart also praised UK’s physical play, telling reporters that other coaches in the league have told him their teams are especially sore after facing the Cats.
“They are doing things really well, especially offensively running the ball. They are a physical team. Having talked to several teams that have just recently played them, they’re sore after the game. They’re a physical bunch. They do a good job getting after you.”
Smart was especially complimentary of Kentucky’s rushing attack, which is hit new highs vs. Missouri. Behind Boom Williams and Benny Snell, Kentucky racked up 377 rushing yards, the most against an SEC opponent since 1953.
“They do a really good job. They’re physical. They’re stubborn. They continually do it. They’re obviously using the Wildcat (formation) a lot with the back they’ve got, (Benny) Snell (Jr.) is a really good player. Talking to the teams who have played him, they talk about how physical he is, how good a downhill runner he is. Then they’ve got the change-up with Boom (Williams) and with JoJo (Kemp), so they’ve really got good backs and they do a good job of using them.”
Kentucky ran the Wildcat A LOT vs. Missouri, especially in the second half to run down the clock, and from the sound of it, Smart is preparing to see it on Saturday.
“Those guys in the Wildcat have been really productive. You say, `Well, it makes it easy when they get in the Wildcat.’ I’ve usually thought that, but they do things by motioning the quarterback out, bringing him back in. They do some creative things to create problems in the run game. You can have all the gaps and all the people, but you’ve still got to tackle them. They do a really nice job of that. They create a lot of issues. We’ll try to address some of those issues today. I’ve got a lot of respect for Eddie (Gran) and what he’s done offensively with them.”