Get A Feel For Auburn's Football Opponent This Week, The Kentucky Wildcats

Jeff Drummond from Scout's Kentucky site, AllWildcats, joins us to for five questions about the Wildcats heading into Thursday night's game for the Auburn Tigers at Commonwealth Stadium.

1. What does a guy like Patrick Towles mean for this Kentucky offense? How much has he grown as a player this season?

Drummond: "Patrick Towles has come a long way from raw prospect to starting quarterback during his time at Kentucky. He always had the phyiscal tools -- the prototype frame, the big arm, the athletic feet -- but he had little to no mechanics coming out of high school. It took awhile to develop consistent throwing technique, and he still has room to improve. Accuracy is always the biggest issue. When he's on, he's really good. When he's not, it can get iffy. Fortunately for Towles, he's got A LOT of good, young playmakers around him."

2. With some injuries up front for Kentucky on defense and Auburn's struggles at quarterback does everyone up there expect a grind-it-out type of game on Thursday night?

Drummond: "Kentucky is mostly healthy on defense with the notable exception of lineman Cory "CJ" Johnson. He's questionable with an ankle he rolled during weekend practice from the open date, but he says he plans to give it a go. That's significant because he's probably playing as well as any D-Lineman I've ever seen over the last two games. He's got 30 tackles in those two games, which is unheard of at that position. And they've been mostly important tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage. Interestingly, he was not a starter going into the season.
"He was a backup to Regie Meant, who has been injured but should return against Auburn. Meant is a better player against the run, whereas Johnson is more of a pass-rush threat. As for the original question, I really have no idea what to expect from a style of game standpoint. My hunch is high-scoring, but it seems like every time I think that, it's the other way around."

3.What player on offense will Auburn have to be aware of that the fans might not know much about heading into the game?

Drummond: "Garrett Johnson, a wide receiver, is probably the most unheralded guy on the UK offense. Everyone is aware of Towles and "Boom" Williams, and a lot of people are starting to recognize Dorian Baker for the big plays he's made at receiver, but Johnson is a really consistent, clutch player with home run ability."

4. How much has true freshman defensive back Chris Westry made an impact for Kentucky's defense this season? What kind of upside does he have for the Wildcats down the road?

Drummond: "Chris Westry has been everything they hoped he would be... and more. You just never expect a true freshman to come in and play as well as he has played. Maybe in spots, but not as consistent as he has been. The biggest thing Westry brings to the table is that great size. UK used to have corners who played really nice coverage and still got beat because they were tiny.
"That's not the case with Westry, who is about 6-4 1/2. He's been particularly helpful in the red zone, where it's difficult to isolate him and throw the fade/jumpball passes. The Cats have been extremely good in the red zone this season, probably the best I've seen them in 20-plus years covering the team."

5. How big is this game for Kentucky? Where would a victory stack up in terms of importance for the program?

Drummond: "It's a big one. This will be the first Thursday night game at Commonwealth Stadium, which opened in 1973. It's a chance to grab the national spotlight for one night. And even though Auburn hasn't played to preseason expectations, the name obviously still carries a lot of weight. The media narrative here is that this is a game where UK has a chance to show it has officially turned the corner, even though I could argue that's already been accomplished.
"The team is playing it down a bit because they've come out tight in the past when a game was hyped up too much. They're taking a more businesslike approach than fans and media, stressing "Just another game," and "One game at a time." That's probably smart because they remember being 5-1 last year and losing six straight to close the season."

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