Today your Kentucky Wildcats will take the field against the Redhawks of Miami(OH) in their first opportunity to get the taste of the WKU loss out of their mouths. The Cats shouldn’t have much trouble against a Redhawk team that lost 52-14 to Marshall last weekend. As the preseason preview of Miami(OH) said, this team just isn’t very good. They only won four games last season and lost their two best players in the off season. They don’t have a new mastermind of a coach and likely no future pros on their roster.
We learned last week that Kentucky has a long way to go before they are a good football team. The Cats, mainly on defense, need to develop mental toughness. Coach Stoops himself alluded to a losing culture at UK and having to change it. When the team gets down they tend to let up or in some cases, not even care. Mental mistakes and lack-of-effort problems shouldn’t exist at this level of play.
The offense was able to move the ball and score points. They likely would have scored more had they gotten the ball back more often. Jalen Whitlow put up 17 points in the first half but was largely ineffective throwing the ball. For a fanbase that lives for the passing game, that wasn’t going to cut it in the new Air Raid. Maxwell Smith looked good in relief and will draw the start today but Whitlow will be on the field. He is simply too talented to sit on the sidelines. The running game was excellent against WKU, but that may have been partially a by-product of the defense respecting Whitlow’s wheels on read-option plays. Marshall posted 304 rushign yards on this defense. Expect the Cats to be able to run it, but not match their rushing totals from last week unless they get a significant lead.
On defense, Travaughn Paschal moves into the starter’s role ahead of Khalid Henderson, giving Kentucky some more size in the back seven. Projected starting corner Cody Quinn may be back this week and freshman Marcus McWilson is eligible and may get some run in the nickel package. Starting LB Kory Brown was injured against WKU and may not play. The Redhawks run The Option on offense, so Kentucky will have to be disciplined on defense. But Miami doesn’t have the athletes to score enough points to win.