Kentucky preview

Surprising as it sounds, the most explosive offense in the SEC East this season may well belong to the Kentucky Wildcats. Whether that's a credit to the Big Blue or an indictment of everyone else remains to be seen.

Florida is breaking in new starters at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. Tennessee must replace its top three wideouts from 2006. Georgia must improve its quarterback play and find a replacement for '06 tight end Martrez Milner. South Carolina must find a big-play target to fill the void left by Sidney Rice's premature jump to the NFL. Vanderbilt needs another weapon to complement wideout Earl Bennett.

Kentucky, on the other hand, returns just about everyone who threw a pass, caught a pass or carried the ball in 2006.

Andre Woodson is considered by some to be the SEC's premier returning quarterback. Tailback Rafael Little was a 1,000-yard rusher in 2005 who led the league in all-purpose yards that fall before suffering through an injury-plagued 2006 season. Jacob Tamme is an ultra-productive tight end. Keenan Burton and Dicky Lyons are proven wide receivers.

With all of this skill-position talent available, the Big Blue should be pretty potent if the offensive line can give Woodson time to throw and give Little room to run. The jury's still out on that, however. Seven of last fall's top 10 blockers are gone, including three starters.

Kentucky's defense should be better in 2007 ... mostly because it couldn't be any worse. The Big Blue finished dead last in virtually every SEC defensive category in 2006. Faced with the distinct prospect of being shown the door, coordinator Mike Archer left for North Carolina State.

Steve Brown, promoted from secondary coach to fill Archer's spot, has lost four linebackers since the 2006 season ended. Ben McGrath and Joe Shuler left the team, then Brandon Thurmond and Chris Cessna suffered knee injuries during spring practice that could cause them to miss part or all of 2007.

If Kentucky's defense is even half-decent, the Wildcats have a chance to top last year's 8-5 record. Woodson appears poised for another strong year. He completed 17 of 28 passes for 245 yards and a couple of touchdowns in the spring game and has all of his supporting cast back for another year.

Keeping your No. 1 quarterback healthy is always crucial but it's particularly important in Lexington this fall. Curtis Pulley, Woodson's backup in 2006, will redshirt in 2007, so he can be the main man in 2008. That leaves the No. 2 QB job in the hands of redshirt freshmen Will Fidler and Mike Hartline.

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