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Updated Big Blue Blueprint: Realistic Expectations for this season


Earlier this summer I wrote a statistical synopsis for Kentucky to play postseason football. Periodically throughout camp and the season, we’ll take a look back to gauge accuracy based on game/practice result and available personnel. The numbers below provide a look back at original projections with adjusted numbers based on realistic expectation.


Scoring Offense

2015: 24.7 points per game

2016 Projection: 29.7 points per game

Updated Realistic Expectation: 32.7 points per game

By all accounts Eddie Gran has made a world of difference in the Wildcat offense. Drew Barker and Stephen Johnson are completing a high percentage of their passes as the offensive line is opening holes for its deep and talented backfield. Receivers and tight ends are also experiencing success. An uptick in receiver production is derived from new coaching as well as competitive depth. Add all this together and my original goal of 29.7 points per game has been changed to 32. Under Gran’s supervision, an eight-point jump from 2015 is a realistic goal. UK will need its offense to average a higher number in order to win football games.



Rush Yards Per Game

2015: 162 rush yards per game

2016 Projection: 195 rush yards per game

Updated Realistic Adjusted Expectation: No Change

Again crediting Eddie Gran, but this time as a running back coach; 195 yards per game may eventually seem like a low ball bid. JoJo Kemp, Sihiem King, AJ Rose, and Benny Snell have been excellent in the first ten days of fall camp. The running team’s early running game success has come without the services of preseason All-SEC performer Boom Williams. Boom is being held out of practice contact for precautionary measures. With Boom, this group is poised for a collective breakout season. UK’s offensive line’s strength lies within its interior. Eddie Gran’s philosophy emphasizes that benefit. Coupled with RB and OL prowess, the surfacing of three SEC-quality tight ends only magnifies the Cat’s rush game resurgence.


Dale Zanine | USA Today

Dale Zanine | USA Today

Pass Completion Percentage

2015: 54.9%

2016 Projection: 62.5%

Updated Realistic Expectation: No Change

62.5% is an accurate and optimum number for Drew Barker. Its been reported that he’s completing 68-70% in scrimmage scenarios. Referring back to the Total Offense number, for UK to achieve bowl eligibility, Barker/Johnson will have to be above the 60% threshold.


Total Defense

2015: Surrendered 394.2 yards per game

2016 Projection: 355 yards per game

Updated Realistic Expectation: 375 yards surrendered per game

The defensive line is a serious concern. Losing Regie Meant only lessened the status of an already uncertain defensive front. Current DL starters are: DE Courtney Miggins, NT Matt Elam, and DT Adrian Middleton. I buy into the theory that “It’s never as good or bad as it seems,” thus I’m giving this grouping the benefit of doubt and a chance to develop. Tymere Dubose, Jacob Hyde, Alvonte Bell, and Kengera Daniel must grow into viable options. True freshmen TJ Carter, Kordell Looney, and Ja’Quize Cross have been better than expected. The sky is not falling. Inexperienced and youthful defenders have to step in and up. But, if ample development and depth are not exhibited, then rumbles of thunder could be heard in the horizon.


Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

Quarterback Sacks

2015: 17 sacks

2016 Projection: 28 sacks

Updated Realistic Expectation: 22 sacks

See above. Kentucky enters its 11th day of fall camp and I’m not confident in proclaiming any starter as its designated pass rush specialist. Mark Stoops and DJ Eliot’s 3-4 look is in actuality a multiple-front defense. If it can’t organically produce quarterback pressure (front-7) then exotic blitzes and other sub-packages will be implemented to influence opposing quarterbacks. I still have a strange feeling that Jordan Bonner or another newcomer could factor.

Kentucky’s obvious defensive strength lies within its secondary. When I say strength, I mean that Chris Westry-Derrick Baity and their back-ups are the best collection of cornerbacks that I’ve seen in decades. Safeties also have big-play capability. However, if opposing quarterbacks are given more than 3.5 seconds to dissect and throw the football, the Wildcat’s strength will be neutralized. Somehow, someway, a pass rush has to develop in order to go bowling.


As stated before, the first 10 days of fall camp paint an accurate picture of the upcoming season. Saturday’s scrimmage film will be used to whittle away at the depth chart as Southern Miss prep will soon begin. Optimism remains. And remember: It’s not personal, it’s personnel.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

11 Comments for Updated Big Blue Blueprint: Realistic Expectations for this season

  1. secrick
    1:14 pm August 15, 2016 Permalink

    Sounds like things are looking bad again for the defense, looks like 5 wins again. How many more players are we going to lose in the next 2 weeks is the question. Two big time players for us have left or gotton hurt already. Man we are jinxed.

  2. BluKudzu
    1:22 pm August 15, 2016 Permalink

    Certainly pleased with Freddie’s take on the offense. No doubt we will need all they have for the upcoming season.
    Not totally discouraged on his notes for the defense, not overly encouraged either. His comment “hearing thunder on the horizon” was a bit ominous though. Undestandable. If the D steps up and plays lights out, everygame, we are bowling. If not….we will be “hearing thunder on the horizon.”
    Wishing the best.

  3. Rain1940
    2:12 pm August 15, 2016 Permalink

    Barker completing a higher percentage against an acknowledged weak defense isn’t encouraging. What is he going to do against the better defenses of the SEC, or even USM?

    • macsauce13
      2:55 pm August 15, 2016 Permalink

      You’re clueless. We have one of the best secondaries in the SEC. I can’t stand you people who constantly spread negativity through your own ignorance.

    • Rain1940
      3:29 pm August 15, 2016 Permalink

      If you believe a good secondary is going to stop a passing game when the opposing quarterback has all day to throw, just wait until USM comes to town. No, I’m not clueless, nor as knowledgeable as Maggard but I suspect I can match wits with most of the faceless “experts” that respond with insults while they hide behind a keyboard.

    • BluKudzu
      5:01 pm August 15, 2016 Permalink

      “However, if opposing quarterbacks are given more than 3.5 seconds to dissect and throw the football, the Wildcat’s strength will be neutralized. Somehow, someway, a pass rush has to develop in order to go bowling.”

      Rain1940 is saying essentially the same think as Freddie. Freddie is saying exactly the same thing as other KSR writers and sports bloggers. Are they ignorant too? If so, why don’t macsauce, and other contributors like him, attack them with the same acerbic comments?

      The reason is because they are not as well versed in football, as most others, and their passion gets in the way of good judgement. I get that.

      macsauce, chill brother. These comments made by folks questioning the progress of the team is not against you. It is about your team and ours. Put up an argument to be as factual as you can, convince us what we have read and seen, is wrong, my brother. We want to believe, as badly as you.

      Lighten up on the “can’t stand you people.” I will make you, and others like you, a promise. I will come back on line at the end of every game and apologize for my rants, when UK wins any games, and you, and those that share your same opinions, can fire at will, after I apologize for being wrong. I am big enough of a man to do so.

      The question now becomes; can you be friendly enough to make this process happen? Will you be big enough of a person to do the same?

      You do not have to hate the messenger.

    • BluKudzu
      6:20 pm August 15, 2016 Permalink

      I am smarter than everyone on this site, including the writers. So when I say negative things, it’s because I can see the future of this coaching staff and its football team and it does not look good. You should drink a lot of bourbon, so it will make it easier to cope. Just like Drew said. Even though I am smarter than him.

    • BluKudzu
      6:28 pm August 15, 2016 Permalink

      I have nothing of significance to be said or guarded in this forum that I can I think of. I rant about my team and my teams coaches, only because I want to see them do better, of which I believe they can. What can I say, beats politics.

      Call me names, ridicule me, I am cool with that. There is no reason for the use of my posting ID to be used in process of spite for hateful and hurtful purposes to anyone.

      People don’t like what I have to say, don’t read it. Got a different opinion? Share it. Enlighten me and show me I am wrong. Personal attacks because I do not agree with the way they want people to think is a sign of the lack of intelligence and heavy insecurity. It shows everyone how small of a person they actually are.

      However, I did just find it interesting that something, such as petty and immature as these actions are, could blow up to such an incredible mess. I also find it odd that the host could be found liable. That was scary strange to me, but now according to what I read, legal precedence has been established. The story I read, mentioned the protocol which had to be established prior to getting the police and legal action rolling. It was not as much as I had originally thought. It was just show evidence, and reply with a request to stop, then on the next occurrence show both the the offending deed, and show the date of it and your request that they stop it. The attorney sends a letter, the police get the complaint via email, the ISP is located, done.

      What is even worse, I think, which I failed to mention previously, the victim also has plans to file suit for civil rights violations. I am not sure as to the context of the event which caused this, other than the mention of it being extremely petty, but somebody got a real thorn in their backside over this. Once proven in a court of law, the limits of damages are pretty much wide open.

      This also happened a couple years back when a girl’s mother was found liable for another girls suicide from on line taunting.

      You never know, someone, somewhere, has asked for legal representation and had gotten the police involved as well. It could happen here, if somebody gets mad enough to do something about it. I suppose it is inevitable though.

      The only effective way to deal with cowards, is to use the legal channels in doing so. People are getting fed up. Not too hard to get a screen shot and hand it over to the police, just a couple clicked buttons on a cell phone, they find the ISP, and the real game is on.

    • BluKudzu
      12:27 am August 16, 2016 Permalink

      Apologies again for someone stealing my name and posting with it. It was iv, this time.

  4. macsauce13
    12:04 pm August 16, 2016 Permalink

    The way I view our program is this: We, as a fanbase, need to turn a bit of a blind eye to the faults in the team, staff, etc. until after a season is over. When we are recruiting, and gearing up for a season, there is no room for negativity, even if vaguely deserved. Because it doesn’t look good. The basketball BBN is fierce and helps our recruiting, but its easy to do that because we win…a lot. The football team needs support. Blind, unfailing support. Just like the basketball program gets.

    I’ve just made it a priority in my own life to try to be that fan. It isn’t that I don’t have critical thoughts or my own opinions on how things should be done, but I’ve simply decided I will root for this team, this staff, and these recruits with nothing but positivity.

  5. fauxbobknight
    12:38 pm August 16, 2016 Permalink

    Projecting improvements in every single category eh? sounds legit.