For UK, the 'WildCat' offense with Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke was wildly successful. This was especially true as the season wore on and in the 4th quarter. Expect to see Cobb lined up under center often. On that note, Randall Cobb only had 13 passing attempts while rushing 94 times (2nd most on team).
Now, on to the guys who will get most of the snaps under center. Adam Froman started 7 games last year and managed to win 2. My impression of Froman last year was that he was the best option at QB for UofL, but lacked a lot of the arm strength that we are used to in a UofL quarterback.
My biggest complaint for UofL quarterbacks in 2009 was that they all missed the open receiver too often to successfully lead the offense. We'll see just how well Froman has adjusted to the new offense, as he certainly was the most accurate and athletic of the quarterbacks last season.
I've never been a big Mike Hartline guy. In his debut in 2008, I was thoroughly under whelmed by his ability to throw the football and make a read. But UK rode the defense to victory in 2008 and in 2009 Hartline managed the game enough for UK to win. Hartline does not make the UK offense dynamic, but he doesn't make the big mistake, and honestly there is a lot to be said about that. Having said that about Hartline, I was surprised that he won the job. For me, Morgan Newton really showed a lot of promise once he was given the opportunity. To be clear, he didn't do anything to "wow" anyone, but as a true freshman going 5-3 after Hartline went down isn't something to just ignore. I expected the UK coaching staff to allow Newton's maturation to further progress.
Still Hartline has seemed to grow up since throwing some teammates under the bus in 2008. As a fifth year senior he probably provides the best leadership for the Wildcats, and practice reports were not good about Newton during spring and fall camps. Some guys can deal with a tough position battle and other guys don't. Usually the more mature a player the better they handle it. Newton may be a victim of his youth, which is a shame because I think he has a very high ceiling. Still, QBs are always a play away from seeing the field so Newton and Ryan Mossakowski must both be ready, especially with the all the questions at offensive line. Same goes for UofL who dealt with injuries at QB throughout the 2009 campaign.
The Edge: Kentucky. Hartline has started this game twice and won the game twice. He isn't flashy, but he has been careful and doesn't put UK in the hole. Froman should be improved and might surprise us in the new offense, however, we have to go with what we know.
Part Two of a five-part breakdown of the Governor's Cup game. Stay tuned for Part Three.