Kentucky Football 2013 Spring Wrap Up
The biggest takeaway offensively is that the new “Air Raid” offense should excite some people. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Kentucky lacks enough wide receivers to make it work the way it is supposed to, and that was readily evident.
There have been major concerns about the secondary, but the secondary showed up very well in the spring game. Those freshmen that were forced to start last year have turned into sophomores, and that seems to have made a pretty significant difference.
If you mean unknown to most of the college football world and not to Kentucky fans, I can give you a few.
* ZaDarius Smith, the JUCO defensive end from Kentucky’s latest recruiting class, is ready to be a star right away. He is a huge physical specimen with speed and strength. Jadeveon Clowney he is not, but he is an excellent pickup for Kentucky who will play immediately.
* Khalid Henderson, a sophomore linebacker, seems poised to make a big impact on the defense next year. He was flying around the field in the spring game
* Rashad Cunningham was incredible during the spring, and the sophomore wideout is just the kind of player Kentucky needs a lot more of. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t lead the Wildcats in receiving stats this year, just like he led all receivers in the spring game. He has size, speed and hands.
* QB — Grade B- Kentucky has a solid stable of quarterbacks, but they are still young.
* RB — Grade B+ The running backs looked very solid in the spring game, and Kentucky has a lot of them.
* WR — Grade B A few dropped balls, but not many. Some good route-running and solid ball skills.
* TE — Grade A The tight ends were a pleasant surprise, catching balls everywhere on the field.
* OL — C Kentucky’s offensive line is a mix of youth and experience, but needs to get better. Run blocking was very good, but pass blocking less so.
* DL — C+ The defensive ends are pretty good, but the interior lacks size. If we get Donte Rumph back in the fall, it will help a lot. They got pushed around on the run, but were better versus the pass.
* LB — C The linebacking corps is showing signs, but it needs to get a lot better.
* Secondary — C Better than expected, but not good enough for the SEC.
* Special Teams — I (incomplete) Special teams didn’t really compete, there was no rush for punts and no kick returns. The field goal units were adequate, but not outstanding. We’ll have to wait until the fall.
I think this team will be better than people think, because when you are coming off a 2-10 year after a 3-year decline, expectations are going to be in the basement for most non-Kentucky fans.
Last year, when Maxwell Smith was healthy, Kentucky’s offense was good enough to produce upsets. He got injured early and things went downhill when UK had to start true freshmen at QB.
The good news is, all those young guys got reps and they are much better this year, and Smith is healthy. The new offense is very high-powered, so Kentucky is going to be able to outscore some offensively-challenged teams.
UK will pull some upsets this season, I believe, and I think Rashad Cunningham will surprise everyone. Also, the running game may shock some people with Josh Clemons healthy again.
Glenn Logan of A Sea of Blue provided the information for our kentucky 2013 spring football update. For more kentucky football information, commentary and analysis, you can follow Glenn on Twitter@ASeaOfBlue.