Help is Coming

Help is coming, but it might surprise you where it is coming from.

There is always a tendency to look for help from the incoming freshmen.  In doing so, most fans forget about some of the kids already at UK.  A case is point is Claude Sagaille.  Did many fans think that the 1st olb/safety off the bench would be Sagaille?  Claude was a red-shirt Sophomore who had played little until this year.  Most people had already looked ahead to incoming freshmen, and had forgotten him.  He played very well this season and was a big contributor to the improvement we saw on defense.


It is the red-shirt freshmen and sophomores who should be the ones to pick up where the graduating seniors left off. Next season should be no different.  There are a lot of questions at running back.  Everyone will be watching that one closely.  The offensive line will receive a big rush of new bodies.  Both these positions will be closely watched, it is unlikely that anyone slips through the cracks and surprises us here.


There are many freshmen and sophomores who have already shown what they can do.   There are also some upper classmen who must step forward as well.  I am going to focus on the kids who have seen little playing time.  They hold the future of this team in their hands.


All of the classes listed for each player are what they will be at the start of the 2003 season.


Going into the 2003 season the biggest question mark, by far, is at tight-end.  There will undoubtedly be a juco signed to fill in here. Drobney saw a lot playing time, and will again next year.  I would tab walk-on RS-freshman Kurt Myers as one young man who could surprise us. At 6-5 240, Kurt has time to add ten or so pounds between now and the UL game.   He showed nice hands in August, he has the size, needs a touch more speed.  Should he decide to switch positions, Gerad Parker is another young man who could get more playing time than he will at receiver.


Going into 2003 receiver will once again be a strength.  Gone are Aaron Boone, and Ernest Simms.  While few have the tools that Boone brought to UK, RS-sophomore Dominick Devasty has the same body type, he may even have more speed than Boone.   RS-sophomore Brian Pickard is a litte lighter (185), and an inch shorter (6-2), yet provides the size that allows receivers to go up and get the ball.  You don't replace a guy like Boone, you hope that these two ease his departure.  Seldom used RS-sophomore Demarcus Wood has the chance to step up as well.  You can't have too many good receivers.


Once again the defense should hold the most question marks this year.  Losing six starters to graduation, (seven if Robertson goes pro) playing time is there for the taking.  Losing players like T. Agoboke, and John Robinson, who provided depth, doesn't help.


Who will be playing inside linebacker is generating much discussion.  There are a couple of young men who have been on campus for a while, who need to step up.  Jon Sumrall is slowly filling out.  At the start of 2002 Jon was listed at 6-2 215 lbs.  He obviously needs another 10 pounds.  He has been with the team for 2 years now, his experience is a big advantage over an incoming freshman, even with his lack of bulk.  The loss of Riley and Lane open up loads of playing time for Jon.  Both Chad Anderson, and Kamal Ahmad played a little this year.  The experience and another year of conditioning put them at the top of the list to play beside Dustin Williams.


David Johnson had a big year.  As one of the defense's leaders, David will be sorely missed.  The player who could step in there is Keith Shelton.  We have not heard Keith's name for a while.  At 6-3 215 pounds, he is the proto-type player John Goodner wants at olb/safety.  Another RS-sophomore, Keith can put the 2 years he has spent on campus to good use in 2003.  RS-freshman

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