Kentucky Wildcats 2013 College Football Preview
2013-08-02 09:55:00 EDT
Kentucky Wildcats 2013 Season Preview
Introduction: The 2-10 (0-8) Kentucky Wildcats are hopeful to rebound after an incredibly disappointing 2012 season, where the team fielded 27 total freshman throughout the season. Who could be a better coach to lead the Wildcats back to the top of the SEC, than a Stoops brother? Coach Mike Stoops has already signed the best recruiting class in the program’s history, earning the 4th best recruiting class in the country. The best SEC teams are always the teams that bring in the top recruits in the country, so this is a reason for Wildcat fans to look forward to the next couple of years.
Offense: Kentucky will be running the Air Raid offense, but with a significant commitment to the run game. There is a competition for the starting quarterback gig, with the three primary contenders being sophomores Maxwell Smith (started 2012 season before his ankle injury), Jalen Whitlow, and Patrick Towles. Smith has seen the most action throughout his career at Kentucky. This season, the Wildcats will be looking to complete a good percentage of passes, and to be able to rely on their tailbacks Jonathan George and Raymond Sanders to provide much needed support for their young quarterbacks. Coach Stoops also plans on using his tight ends as receivers in different formation sets, and he is blessed with a group of four senior tight ends eager to get on the field.
Defense: The Wildcats will be returning their top three leading tacklers from the 2012 season, senior LB Avery Williamson, who racked up 135 tackles last year, which was second in the SEC; junior Alvin Dupree who managed 91 tackles last year, and Dupree will be seeing most of his action at DE this season; finally, junior Miles Simpson, who recorded 70 tackles at weakside linebacker. This is great news for the Wildcat faithful, although the secondary will be an area of concern throughout the season. Kentucky will be losing a starting safety and corner to graduation. The rest of the defense, however, will be mostly returning starters, and they will be helping out the young secondary as much as possible.
Special Teams: Sophomore punter Landon Foster was named to the Freshmen All-American team and he will be the punter for the Wildcats this season. The placekicking job is being competed for between senior Joe Mansour and a couple of walk-on candidates. Punt and kickoff returners will include Demarco Robinson, Daryl Collins, DeMarcus Sweat, Raymond Sanders, and Dyshawn Mobley.
Outlook: The Kentucky Wildcats will have to deal with a handful this year in the conference schedule. The Wildcats will be facing Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi State, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Georgia, and Tennessee, along with Western Kentucky (Sun Belt), Miami of Ohio (MAC), Louisville (AAC), and Alabama State (FCS). I expect the Wildcats to take advantage of their relatively easy non-conference schedule, but I do not anticipate Kentucky being able to create a winning season in the SEC this year.
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