Scouting South Carolina at Kentucky: Three Things to Watch for When Kentucky Has the Ball

This post continues our preview of the UK game.

3. Can Carolina put pressure on Mike Hartline?

The often-embattled Hartline is finally playing well as a senior. His impressive stats are partially the product of Kentucky's usual early-season schedule padding, but Hartline proved he could do it against an SEC defense last week against Auburn, when he threw for 220 yards on 23-28 passing. Carolina's secondary finally got it into gear last week against Alabama, though, and if they're on their game again and our front can get a push, we can probably force Hartline to make a mistake or two, much like Florida and Ole Miss did. Getting some big plays is going to be critical; Hartline and the Kentucky offense have tended to move the ball more often than not, but where they've had trouble at times is making the yards equal points. That's due to turnovers and drives stalling out due to busted plays.

2. Can Kentucky run the ball without Derrick Locke?

Kentucky's star tailback Locke is doubtful with a shoulder injury, and UK's run game suffered after he left the game against Auburn. If Kentucky is having trouble running the ball well, that will put a lot of pressure on Hartline to make big plays, which could allow us to tee off and force some turnovers. (See above.)

1. Randall Cobb

The do-it-all Kentucky star will likely be at the focal point of Kentucky's offensive approach. Cobb will be Hartline's go-to receiver, but he'll also likely run a number of plays out of the Wildcat. That's particularly true if Kentucky's base offense stalls, which is, as suggested, possible with Locke doubtful. When Cobb is in the game, look for Ellis Johnson to follow the recipe he dialed up last week against Alabama's run game: aggressive run blitzing and relying on the secondary to handle the passing game.

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