SEC Preview: Kentucky

Don't look now, but Kentucky fans are excited and we're still a long ways from Midnight Madness. And with good reason: this could be one the best Wildcat teams in a long time. At every offensive skill position, there's great veteran talent, particularly under center where Andre' Woodson should be the top passer in the conference and possibly the country.

But there are still a number of question marks for the Wildcats, specifically the offensive line and defense. And the schedule won't do any favors either, with LSU and Arkansas on the West division rotation and a loaded East division. The box score for the in-state battle with Louisville will probably look like it was played on a Playstation.

Staff:
Head Coach:
Rich Brooks, 17-30 in 4 years
Offensive Coordinator: Joker Phillips
Defensive Coordinators: Steve Brown

Projected Depth Chart (returning starters in bold):
Offense

QB Andre' Woodson Sr.
Mike Hartline Fr.

RB Rafael Little Sr.
Tony Dixon Jr.

FB John Conner So.
Maurice Grinter So.

WR Keenan Burton Sr.
Steve Johnson Sr.

WR Dicky Lyons Jr.
DeMoreo Ford Jr.

TE Jacob Tamme Sr.
T.C. Drake So.

RT Justin Jeffries So.
Josh Winchell Jr.

RG Jason Leger Sr.
Jess Beets Jr.

C Eric Scott Sr.
Jorge Gonzalez So.

LG Christian Johnson Jr.
Michael Williams So.

LT Garry Williams Jr.
James Alexander Jr.

Defense
DE Jeremy Jarmon So.
J.D. Craigman Sr.

DT Corey Peters So.
Ventrell Jenkins Jr.

DT Myron Pryor Jr.
Ricky Lumpkin Fr.

DE Nii Adjei Oninku Jr.
Dominic Lewis Sr.

SLB Johnny Williams Jr.
A.J. Nance So.

MLB Braxton Kelley Jr.
Micah Johnson So.

WLB Wesley Woodyard Sr.
Sam Maxwell So.

SS Roger Williams Sr.
Ashton Cobb So.

FS Marcus McClinton Jr.
Calvin Harrison So.

LCB Trevard Lindley So.
Paul Warford So.

RCB E.J. Adams So.
Shomari Moore Jr.

Special Teams
K Lones Seiber So.
P Tim Masthay Jr.
KR Keenan Burton Sr.
PR Rafael Little Sr.

Offensive Breakdown:
Key Returners: QB Andre' Woodson, RB Rafael Little
Key Losses: RT Michael Aitcheson, C Matt McCutchan
Key Newcomers:
2* RT Josh Winchell, 3* RB Brandon Jackson

In addition to Woodson, the Wildcats boast a great running back in Rafael Little who keeps the offense balanced. Keenan Burton and Dicky Lyons combine for one of the better wideout tandems in the conference and senior tight end Jacob Tamme is also one of the best. But it won't matter if the Wildcats can't get consistent protection from the offensive line, which struggled last year against the conference's better defenses. There's some hope with center Eric Scott and tackle Justin Jeffries showing some ability.

Defensive Breakdown:
Key Returners:
WLB Wesley Woodyard, FS Marcus McClinton
Key Losses: DE Durrell White, DT Lamar Mills
Key Newcomers: 3* DE D.J. Stafford, 3* DT Shane McCord

The biggest defensive concerns lie in on the line, where the ‘Cats finished last in the conference in rush defense and seventh in sacks. The linebackers are a good bit better, with Wesley Woodyard as one of the better linebackers in the conference. Micah Johnson, who was highly-touted coming from the high school ranks, will also make an impact from the reserve middle linebacker position.

The secondary has its share of deficiencies as well, but junior free safety Marcus McClinton is a good one and two other starters return. They'll certainly be tested by Louisville's Brian Brohm and the SEC's bevy of talented passers.

Special Teams Breakdown:

Kentucky returns starting kicker Lones Seiber and starting punter Tim Masthay. Burton and Little, in addition to be offensive threats, will again be counted on for big kickoff and punt returns.


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