QA With Kentucky Blog, A Sea Of Blue
TCR recently talked with A Sea Of Blue to discuss the upcoming road game with the Kentucky Wildcats. To read more insight from the enemy and to check out the second half of this QA session, visit their website: http://aSeaOfBlue.com/
1) Losing you starting QB, Mike Hartline definitely slows the momentum your offense has had over the past several seasons. Is Morgan Newton ready to be the new leader?
I don’t know. Newton has been entirely average as a leader, and his grumping about playing time last year was not a positive development. He has the physical package necessary to be an SEC quarterback, but so far, he hasn’t shown he has what it takes between the ears.
During the Western Kentucky game, Newton made several major mental mistakes, two of which were huge and led directly to turnovers. He held on to the ball too long and simply hasn’t progressed as far as we would have hoped.
On the plus side, André Woodson didn’t emerge until a game or two into his junior year (2006), and in fact led Kentucky to only a narrow victory over Central Michigan, 45-36. So we haven’t given up on Newton yet.
2) On a similar note, Kentucky lost their big play threat to the NFL in Randal Cobb. Does Kentucky have any big play makers to fill the void in 2011?
No, not really. Our biggest returning receiving threat had only 36 catches last year. Our most dangerous returning player is probably King, and running back Raymond Sanders. Freshman Demarco Robinson is said to be a receiver with big-play ability, but he only got in a couple of series against Western and never had a ball thrown his way. That may be about to change, though. Also, freshman tailback Josh Clemons scored a touchdown in his first collegiate game against Western, so he may emerge as a major player in the backfield.
3) What sort of offense can Chippewa fans expect to see?
Kentucky plays a pretty straightforward pro set offense. You’ll see a lot of runs on early downs and a lot of passes second and third down. Kentucky showed no inclination to throw on first down against Western, but you never know from game to game.
Against a team like CMU, UK will try to establish the run first, and then the pass. When we had Randall Cobb, we would trot out the Wildcat offense pretty regularly, but I don’t see that happening much this year.
4) Playing in the SEC, Kentucky knows better than anyone how competitive recruiting can be. How does Kentucky keep up with the big boys in the SEC?
Basically, we haven’t. Tennessee and Florida have winning streaks against us that span the better part of 3 decades, and I think we have managed one win against Alabama in the last 89 years. Up until last year, Kentucky had never beaten a Steve Spurrier-coached team. Our record of futility against the SEC is legend, and hasn’t gotten much better in the last six years.
5) CMU has bowl eligibility in their sights this year and coming off a losing season, the number 1 goal is getting to 7 wins. What are some goals of this Kentucky team?
Very similar to CMU. Seven wins, considering the youth of this Kentucky team in the skill positions, would have to be considered a good season. Our goals are to have a winning record in the SEC and accomplish 8 or more regular-season wins, something we haven’t done since 1984. Obviously, we’d also like to be in the running for a warm-weather bowl that isn’t in Birmingham, also.
Kentucky has an improved defense and a good offensive line (if it can ever get healthy). How well our young skill players develop, along with the development of Newton, who has to be considered our bell cow, will define the Kentucky season this year.