TAYLOR: UK team is confident, loaded

LEXINGTON – While sitting in the press box at Commonwealth Stadium covering the Blue-White encounter last weekend, reality sunk in. Although a spring scrimmage is nothing close to the real thing, it didn't take away from envisioning what can happen five months down the road.

This team is confident. This team has experience. This team is loaded. This team has the entire package on offense: A proven quarterback, proven running back and a proven wide receiver.

For the first time in recent memory, there won't be a quarterback controversy when the Wildcats open camp this fall. Andre Woodson was anointed the team's starter before the season opener against Louisville last year and has been safely in the pocket ever since.

Not only does Woodson have a firm grip on the starting job, but has a chance to raise his stock a notch and could end up being a legitimate candidate for the Heisman Trophy.

Ironically, Kentucky's last candidate for such an award was a signal caller by the name of Couch.

Tim Couch.

Instead of a race for No. 1, Mike Hartline and Will Fidler will battle it out to be Woodson's backup, a sidebar compared to last season when Woodson and Curtis Pulley were in a dead heat for the top job.

While Woodson is the heart and soul of the offense, he will have plenty of weapons to work with when he hands the ball off or decides to throw it.

In the backfield, Rafael Little will anchor the running backs and will be flanked by Tony Dixon. Little missed four games last season because of a knee injury and appeared to be at full speed during spring workouts.

Not having to worry about nagging injuries here and there will be a plus for Little. Imagine what it will be like if Little stays healthy the entire season.

Wide receiver Keenan Burton, the third leg of the team's Triple Crown Crew on offense, showed how explosive he can be with a complete injury-free season.

Not only will Kentucky's "Big Three" be back, but they will be surrounded by an array of talent that includes Jacob Tamme, Dicky Lyons, DeMoreo Ford, Steve Johnson and Alfonso Smith.

Prior to last year, injuries had been a regular part of the routine for Burton. As a sophomore, Burton broke his foot and as a freshman, suffered a broken wrist. Although a tremendous offensive playmaker, Burton's biggest attribute is his humbleness.

After the team received their Music City Bowl championship rings, Burton turned the hardware over to his mother, obviously his No. 1 fan. Woodson couldn't keep his eyes off his ring and admired the benefits of hard work.

All three players are humble, but more importantly hungry enough to realize they have a chance to do something special next year. A year from now, all three will be part of the NFL Draft, but for now they still wear the Blue and White jersey.

The possibilities are endless.


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