It’s hard to come down on the Wildcats too hard after their close loss to the Georgia Bulldogs yesterday. We’re not in the business of moral victories here in the SEC, but many (including myself) believed that this could have been a bloodbath. The young Cats pulled together and fought with a tough defense and strong running game to keep this one close to the very end.
- The offensive line was spectacular throughout the game with Georgia. We have been through several games of excellent offensive line play this season and the unit is really not getting the credit it deserves. After how disappointing the line was last season, many thought that the unit would be the weak link on the offense this season. The lack of injuries (knock on wood) that the big guys have endured has certainly helped, but it is apparent that these guys are the strength of the offense this season. Against Georgia, they opened gaping holes for runners despite the Bulldogs loading up the box with 8 and 9 defenders. It was a fantastic effort that has gone unnoticed so far.
- The running backs played with a lot of gumption last night. Jon George and Raymond Sanders both ran hard and got the tough yards that they needed despite Georgia stacking the box. Just think what they would have been able to do had the offense been able to pass the ball and keep the defense honest.
- The defense did a nice job of limiting the Georgia running game, which had been devastating early in the season. That’s all I’ll say about the defense in this section…
- I actually thought that the coaching staff called this one pretty well. The game plan was basically what it was against Tennessee last year, but Georgia’s talent is just much better than Tennessee’s was last season.
- Morgan newton played ‘not-awful’ for the first time since he was a freshman. You have to love him coming in and throwing a touchdown to Aaron Boyd too.
- I think it has become painfully obvious that Jalen Whitlow is not a quarterback. That said, he is a play-maker and I think he is going to play a huge role on this offense in the future.
Room for improvement:
- Kentucky lost Jalen Whitlow for a portion of the Georgia game and flirted with disaster. If Whitlow does go down, it’s Morgan Newton, then a walk-on true freshman at quarterback. With the physical pounding that both Whitlow and Newton take each game, the staff needs to be careful or they’ll be forced to play their fifth quarterback this season.
- As well as the defense played against the run, they were so much worse against the pass that it was hard to watch. Four true freshmen in the defensive backfield means that the future is looking bright, but it was hard to watch last night.
- IF the staff plans on REALLY giving Whitlow a shot at being a quarterback long term, they’re going to have to give the guy a chance to actually play quarterback. His throws are awful most of the time, but he throws so infrequently that it’s hard to know for sure if he has what it takes.
- Dear lord, the defensive backfield got torched. You really have to hope that their long term psyche hasn’t been damaged by the past two games.
- Where the hell is the pass rush? As surprising as the offensive line has been, the defensive unit has been equally disappointing.
- The officiating is rarely included in an post I write, but this was one if the worst officiating jobs I have ever watched.
- I know it didn’t REALLY matter, but the end of the game management was awful.
This was actually a fun game to watch, but the bottom line is that Kentucky just doesn’t have what it takes to win. The little breaks that great teams make always seem to elude the wildcats. They can’t do anything about the litany of bad calls, but the lack of big plays is just one of those things that separates great teams from the bottom feeders. The missed opportunities are just too much for this team to make up. The onside kick is just an example of another way that Kentucky can’t make the plays other teams make routinely.