Vince Marrow is as plugged-in to the heartbeat of the Kentucky football team as anyone, and he has a good feeling about the Cats’ chances during the 2019-20 season.
The Big Dog made a surprise appearance on KSR this morning, where he chatted with our own Matt Jones about next year’s roster. First and foremost, he’s feeling good about his Wildcats.
“I think we’re going to be very good, I really do,” Marrow said. “The schedule sets us up.”
While Marrow recognized the team lost a lot of talented players to the NFL Draft this year (although, he argues more Kentucky guys should have been selected), that doesn’t mean this automatically turns into a “rebuilding” year for UK. Just because they lost experience doesn’t mean the Cats are downgrading their talent. In fact, Marrow argues they’ve done the opposite.
“Here’s the difference: I think we had experience with those guys, the class that just left, because they played a lot. But… our running back room may be more talented than Benny [Snell], and he’s the all-time leading rusher here – the potential is better.”
That potential doesn’t end with the running backs.
“The tight end potential is better,” Marrow continued. “Y’all loved CJ Conrad; y’all are going to love Justin Riggs. Justin Riggs is one of the most complete tight ends that, when I look at it as an NFL guy, he’s 6’6″, 260 and running a 4.7, so he’s going to be a good player.”
He also added some praise for Kentucky’s quarterbacks – both of them.
“I think Terry Wilson is going to be 110 percent better,” Marrow said of the Cats’ starter. “I loved the way he played, but you know, you’ll always have critics.”
And as for the Cats’ backup? Well, that’d be Sawyer Smith, and Vince Marrow is pretty happy with him, too.
“He was tutored by Neal Brown; came in and won nine games [for Troy] when their quarterback got hurt. He wanted to be here; he wanted to be here.”
That last part could be confirming the idea Smith was the one who actively reached out to the Kentucky staff, realizing they needed a backup QB option for next season.
But Marrow is always honest, so he did mention one position of concern: the cornerbacks.
“The only thing I’m worried about, and [cornerbacks coach Steve Clinkscale] is going to get mad at me for this, our corners.”
He reminded listeners of his similar worries last season with the team’s defensive line, and he says he was proven wrong, as “it ended up being the best position… The D-line played very well.” But the corner position is going to look very different than it did last year, with the Cats losing years of experience and NFL-level talent in Lonnie Johnson, Derrick Baity and Chris Westry.
To compensate for some tough losses at that position, Stoops, Marrow and the rest of the staff hit the recruiting trail. They brought in two JUCO transfers: Brandin Echols (a former three-star prospect) from Northwest Mississippi Community College and Quandre Mosely from Eastern Arizona Community College. They’ll also have Jamari Brown, Stanley Garner and Cedrick Dort Jr, who all took a redshirt last year.
Even with his worries at corner, Vince Marrow is ready to prove the haters wrong – again.
“Look at the pre-season rankings again. Look at all this stuff again,” Marrow said of a national bias against the Cats. “Hell yeah, it bothers me. It might not bother everybody else, but it bothers me.”
Let’s hope that bother once again pushes that Cats to a successful season – and provides some extra motivation for the cornerbacks.