Moving To Linebacker? Not So Fast My Friend… Kentucky fans have been clamoring to get a longer look at sophomore running back Dyshawn Mobley. The Tennessee product had only 16 carries on the season entering Saturday's game, but had been playing extremely well on special teams. Mobley's play there had led to rumors of him shifting to the defensive side of the ball this spring, but he got a career-high 10 carries and responded with a team-leading 92 yards rushing against the Bulldogs, including a 69-yard touchdown run. He gives the Cats a different look at the position, offering more power to complement the smaller speed backs on the roster. Afterward, Mobley was about the lone bright spot for UK head coach Mark Stoops, who said the staff needs to get him more playing time next week against Tennessee due to his consistent attitude and effort.
Speaking of Linebackers… It's hard to single out a defensive player on a night when his unit surrendered 59 points, but sophomore linebacker Khalid Henderson has been quietly showing signs of high potential. He had eight tackles in Week 10 against Vanderbilt and followed that up with five tackles and an interception that thwarted a UGA scoring opportunity in the red zone. Henderson should be carrying a great deal of confidence and momentum into spring practice and his second year in Stoops' system. A new leader for that unit will have to emerge when tackling machine Avery Williamson plays his final game as a Wildcat next week.
O-Line Play: It's been a consistent issue for Kentucky almost all season, but the play in the trenches is not good enough to give UK a chance against SEC competition. Georgia has a mediocre – at best – defense. The Bulldogs are allowing 29 points and 371 yards per game, and they had only forced 12 turnovers all season (13th in the SEC). But UK made them look like Bama at times. The Cats had only 47 snaps, posted only 17 points and managed just 211 total yards. They punted six times, turned the ball over three times and were sacked four times. The single-biggest issue the staff is facing this spring, from my perspective, is solidifying the O-Line. Forget the ongoing hand-wringing about the quarterbacks. Air Raid 2.0 is not going to take off without better play up front. Only one senior (Kevin Mitchell) is departing, but it would not surprise me if there are at least three new starters on that unit in 2014.
Did The Cats Mail It In? With three key players getting suspended this week due to violations of team rules and the egg that was laid Saturday night in Athens, many fans questioned in post-mortem whether the Cats quit on Mark Stoops in this one. It was the first time this season there didn't appear to be much heart on UK's behalf, and its head coach was beyond dejected in his postgame interview sessions. An aberration, perhaps? We'll see this week as a truly dreadful Tennessee team visits Commonwealth Stadium for a game that has nothing but pride riding on it.
By The Numbers:
2.1 – Average yardage per rushing attempt for the Wildcats, who had relied on a pretty solid ground game for most of the season, even when the overall offense was struggling.
6 – Fumbles by UK, three lost to Georgia. Two weeks ago, the Cats were one of the nation's best teams in regard to taking care of the football with only seven turnovers all season. Now they've got 14.
15 – SEC losses in a row for UK, the longest active streak in the nation by a BCS program, thanks to Illinois snapping a 20-game Big Ten skid this weekend with a win over Purdue.
19 – Not counting incomplete passes, the number of plays Kentucky ran that went for 1, 0 or negative yardage. The Wildcats ran only 47 plays. Ten were thrown for losses totaling 49 yards in the wrong direction.
116 – UK's NCAA rank (out of 123 Division I programs) in third-down conversion rate after going 3 for 12 against the Bulldogs. The Cats have converted only 31 percent of their third downs this season. By contrast, national leader LSU has converted 59 percent.
313 – Passes the UK secondary has faced this season without recording an interception. The Cats' only two picks this season have come from linebackers Josh Forrest and Khalid Henderson.