Hi everyone. Most of you here are probably familiar with SB Nation's Kentucky Wildcats blog, A Sea of Blue. I got together with the site's manager, Glenn Logan, to talk about this weekend's game against the 'Cats. Here are his answers to my questions--I'm sure you'll appreciate his insights regarding Kentucky football. I'll post a link for my answers to his questions when they go up.
My sincere thanks to Glenn for taking the time to chat with me--and for putting up with some mild trash talk in his game threads during basketball season.
1. In last season's game, I thought Kentucky should have used Randall Cobb under center more than it did, especially after the injury to Hartline. Do you think we'll see plenty of Cobb on Saturday?
Yeah, probably. Defenses have successfully schemed for Cobb several times this year, and it has kind of turned Phillips off to the idea. To be honest, though, the problem has been that Cobb isn't throwing enough from the Wildcat, and it's easy to stack the box against the run if the threat of the pass isn't there. That's what makes it go for Kentucky. Phillips seems to have figured that out, though, so I would definitely expect to see quite a bit of him on Saturday.
Another reason is that Locke appears to be doubtful for Saturday. Without Locke, the Wildcat becomes a much more interesting option, because the defensive tendency is to have to worry about both Locke and Cobb. With Locke out, defenses are likely to focus on Cobb, and both Sanders and Russell are dangerous backs that cannot be ignored. That may create more opportunities for the Wildcat. We'll see.
A little bit? You are being kind. Kentucky currently has the worst rushing defense in the SEC, even worse than Vanderbilt. Yeah, I'd call that being exposed.
Kentucky's problems are a very young defense, particularly in the linebacking corps, and a small defensive front. When we had guys like Corey Peters & Co., running on UK was a challenging problem. But those guys are gone, and their replacements simply aren't as good or as big. Add youth to that equation, and you have a genuine Achilles' Heel.
How will they deal with South Carolina? I don't know. Probably they won't be able to. We have yet to face a big, strong back like Marcus Lattimore who pounds you between the tackles. Maybe they will be better against that kind of runner, but I doubt it. Alshon Jeffrey burned us last year, and though our defensive backfield is better than what the Gamecocks faced last year, so is Jeffrey. The 'Cats must do something they haven't done all year -- play good defense, period.
I think he has done very well. The offense is potent, as it should be, and the defense is young, and vulnerable, which it should be. The way UK recruits, you are going to have these kinds of years every so often, and there is a limit to what you can do to fix it. You can't add a year to a lineman's experience and development mid-year, and 3-stars like UK recruits take at least 3 years to become SEC quality.
Has he met expectations? Ask me at the end of the year. If he gets to a bowl, I would say yes. If not, no.
Alshon Jeffrey. Jeffrey is an absolute first-rounder when he becomes eligible for the draft. He is big, strong, fast, and has great hands. Mike Hartline has become really good at throwing the ball in the right spot, and with a guy like Jeffrey on the outside, Kentucky would be hard to stop on offense. Chris Matthews should be nearly that good, but he isn't, for some reason. Or else I'm giving Hartline too much credit.
At the end of the day, I just love Jeffrey, and how he plays.