2012 SEC Sneak Peek: Kentucky WildcatsPublished 9:37am Friday, June 22, 2012
In the same way that the University of Alabama is a football school that tolerates basketball, the University of Kentucky is a basketball school that tolerates football.
Head coach Joke Phillips enters his third year at the helm of Wildcat football, and despite the uniform change at the beginning of last season, nothing much has changed in the land of Big Blue.
Schedule-wise, the Wildcats could build early momentum if they can take down in-state rival Louisville in their first game. Kentucky then rounds out their first three games vs. Kent State and vs. Western Kentucky.
Starting off 3-0 would be a good momentum builder for Phillips and his Wildcats, who finished 5-7 last season.
Having said that, Kentucky football began last season 2-0 and went on to lose their next four straight games.
The good thing for Kentucky is that they don’t feature too tough of an SEC schedule, with winnable games against Vanderbilt, Tennessee and possibly Missouri (that’s a small possibly).
The offense for Kentucky was dismal last season, ranking 90th in rushing yards, 114th in passing yards, and 117th in points scored … in the words of ‘Sir Charles’ Barkley: “That’s turrible.” Remind me why UK fans don’t like football again?
Offensive football at UK hasn’t been the same since what now seems like the ‘glory days’ of Andre Woodson, Randall Cobb and Dicky Lyons Jr. from 2007-2009.
Max Smith returns under center and threw for a ‘whopping’ 819 yards and four touchdowns last year. La’Rod King will be the main receiving threat, bringing back 598 yards and seven touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the football, one would think that it is tough to stay positive with an ailing UK offense. Knowing that even if they could stop an opposing offense, their own offense wouldn’t put it in the endzone would continually make them blue (pun intended) in the face.
Kentucky lost captain and linebacker Danny Trevathan, now of the Broncos, he’ll look to be replaced by Miles Simpson in some way, shape, or form. In the secondary Martavious Neloms and Ashley Lowery are both athletic and return experience.
These names are players that can make plays, but they aren’t the type of players that are going to shut down an even decent offense, which brings me back to my point about Kentucky’s offense.
If Phillips wants to rely on his defense to hold teams to 14 points every game of the SEC season (due to what the UK offense will put on the board), they are going to continue to set in the cellar of the SEC East.
I’ve got Kentucky finishing behind Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt … wait let me check … yep, that put’s them as the doormat of the SEC East again.
Kentucky fans: Do you think Anthony Davis would stick around next year and try out for tight end?
Nah, me neither.
The Outlook will feature preview columns of each SEC team leading up to the full Sportz Blitz/Outlook 2012 SEC preview in July.
Cowart is the sports editor for The Outlook.release