At tailback, the Wildcats replaced incumbent starter Arliss Beach with Freshman Tony Dixon against Indiana on Saturday, and they did it with great results. The freshman rushed for 106 yards on nine carries and a 61 yard touchdown run. He also caught three passes for 34 yards. Beach was also effective and remains a big part of the Wildcats attack. The 220 pound bruiser ran seven times for 46 yards against Indiana and had a long of 23. The Wildcats are effective as an option running team and the versatility of these two backs helps them in that quest.
When the Wildcats use a fullback, it's mostly for blocking. They use a fullback based on down and distance situations.
The wide receiver spots are a little uncertain now with the loss of starter Keenan Burton. The Wildcats best receiver coming into the season, he was replaced effectively in the Indiana game with junior Scott Mitchell. Who had three catches for 48 yards including a nice 20 yard catch where he did most of the work. The opposite starter is Glenn Olt and he led all receivers with six catches against Indiana. The wide receivers don't scare you and are used a lot to block in their running scheme. They catch mostly very short passes and or slants, but haven't done much after the catch.
The tight end has two catches on the season for 17 yards. They run a lot o sets without a tight end, but do incorporate them in the running game. Watch the funky stance the tight end will take sometimes at the line of scrimmage. As the offensive line gets down in their stance, he will stand there like superman. We actually called this the superman stanc when I worked for the staff last year.
The offensive line is smallish and effective with their option running game they incorporate. They have one starter that barely clears the 300 mark, but do a lot of trapping and maneuvering to make their running game work. If the Gators can force them to pass, the Wildcats offensive line will be way out of their element.
If the Gators shut down Boyd, the game should be over quick. The freshman tailback Dixon is quick and looks like a player, but the Wildcats have to rely on trickery and a nice little option package to run the ball effectively. I thin the Gator's team speed is a little much for them to handle.
The Kentucky defense uses an unconventional 3-4 line up, especially against spread formations. They will line up their two outside linebackers and bring one or the other, so that they still usually have a four man rush. They play a lot of cover-1 Man defense and a lot of cover 3 zone. These two look identical at the snap of the ball, so Chris Leak will have to be on the ball to determine if the Wildcats are in a zone or man coverage. Look for the Gators to possibly do more motion than usual to help get a pre-snap read.
The Defensive line is anchored by defensive end Vincent "Sweet Pea" Burns. Burns is an all conference type player and most likely the best player on the entire Kentucky team. He plays end in a three man front and tackle in a four and is more of a tackle build. I would rate him as one of the top 4 defensive linemen in the conference. His line mate Ellery Moore at the other defensive end spot, actually has 10 more tackles and 2 sacks on the season and is currently playing pretty well. Nose tackle Lamar Mills, he's steady but not spectacular.
The linebackers are 4 of the top 5 tacklers on the team. Chad Anderson is the most active and leads the Wildcats with 18 tackles in two games. Durrell White and Raymond Fontaine are the outside linebackers that will rush that will trade off and rush the passer to get a four man rush. It is a solid group with good size. They play run support well and not much in pass support.
The defensive backs are often left on islands and teams average 16 yards a completion against them. That is a pretty high number. Muhammad Abdullah plays at free safety and is blazing fast player. I like him a lot. The corners play well but are expected to do a lot.
The Gators should be able to throw deep on these guys. At the same time while the linebackers make a lot of tackles, they do so past the line of scrimmage. They have given up an average of over 200 yards a game rushing in their two contests. I believe this is a good game to keep the offense on a roll, in all phases.
The field goal kicker is Taylor Begley and he is 3 for 3 with a 40+ yarder to his credit on the season.
Anthony Thornton has a 38,8 yard punting average and the average return is about seven yards for a net of 31 or so.
Burton, who is out for the year was their leading kick returner, but they have two others that average more than 20 yards a kick return. Still neither is Derrick Abney and that is a welcome sight.
Punt returners have 5 total yards on seven kicks, see Aney comments above.