PST Contributor: Des Boodram
August 10th, 2016
What does a team need to do to be consistently competitive in the SEC. The formula no doubt is a difficult one to figure out, but the argument can be made that it starts with coaching. In the case of the Kentucky Wildcats, a school that traditionally leads with Men’s basketball – the coaching staff put in place to lead the program, hasn’t been this good in years. Head coach Mark Stoops who has compiled a malnourished 12-24 record in three seasons will be looked upon to turn somewhat of corner this season.
There’s still a tremendous amount of work to do but almost all starters on offense are returning and though the defense will need a lot of work, Wildcat nation can count on the notion that Stoops and his staff will have a plan, especially because he is one season away from having all of his own players take the field. For a program like Kentucky, coaching is only the tip of the iceberg, and at the end of the day, the Wildcats have a long way to go to be able to put up the Ws at the same clip of the Alabamas and LSUs of the world.
Lightning Fast on Offense
Offensively the Wildcats should be fast, and efficient returning virtually everyone. QB Drew Barker who beat out the now transferred Patrick Towles will be playing with a full deck and will be called upon to lead this team offensively. Barker will have plenty of help around him, including a trio of returning RBs – Boom Williams, JoJo Kemp and Mikel Horton. How carries will be split, is anyone’s guess at this point, but the depth will prove invaluable if this team is going to slow the game down and be a threat in the rushing game.
SEC All-Freshmen honor recipient C.J. Conrad should be able to make some noise from the TE position giving Barker a dependable, big short yardage target amongst other things. This team has some major cogs in place, but still needs poise from the QB position, something that would make them a must-see offense.
Defensively there not much to preview here – The secondary returns almost everyone including SEC All-Freshmen corner Chris Westry. There is only one starter returning in the front seven, but a handful of newcomers and transfers that UK has no choice but to lean on.
Lack of Experience for 2016?
Nebraska transfer Courtney Love is expected to lead the Linebacker unit each game despite having limited experience. The good news is this defense is young and should be good in years to come and maybe even this season.
No one is threatened by UK football thus everyone should want the program to achieve some level of success. It’s clear that their defense is young, but UK has a favorable home schedule, getting South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Mississippi St. at home.
At 6-6 the Wildcats should be able to play in their first bowl since 2010, giving the fans something to look forward to.
The Kentucky Wildcats are a -7.0 point home favorite vs. Southern Miss in week 7, get all of your College football odds in our PST lines section.