Following Kentucky’s 24-7 loss to the Florida Gators there has been a steadily increasing murmur of unrest among Kentucky football fans. We all bought into the hype regarding this game in the weeks leading up to it. This was the year the streak ended, the stars are aligning for the Wildcats and the magic of this new coaching staff would get the team over the hump. Then UK lost again and looked relatively inept for the most in doing it.
The Wildcats defense again spent far too much time on the field as the offense struggled against Florida’s fearsome defense. Special teams provided a bright spot in Joe Mansour’s fake field goal touchdown run, which became one of SportCenter’s top plays. The 25-yard romp was enough to make him the team’s leading rushing on the night.
Coming into the season many fans expected Kentucky’s defense to struggle while the offense tried to keep them in games. So far this season that has been reversed. UK’s defense has played well enough to win for the past three weeks. The offense has struggled to sustain drives and especially with converting third downs. This has led many to question the offensive coaches.
When Neal Brown was hired away from Texas Tech last winter, many expected to see Kentucky running a wide open Air Raid offense like Hal Mumme was known for. That simply isn’t the case. The make-up of this roster wouldn’t allow for it. And the truth is that Brown’s Air Raid is different than Mumme’s to begin with. Brown wants to throw the ball more but doesn’t have a quarterback who can take over games at the position.
To Brown’s credit, he has tried to get creative. The execution has been poor for the most part. At TTU, Brown often ran trick plays and screens to get big chunks of yardage. But screens don’t work when your receivers don’t block. Trick plays don’t work when the receiver on an end around pass doesn’t throw the ball for no apparent reason and takes a big loss. Add in dropped passes and a left tackle playing like a turnstile and you have a recipe for what you are seeing now.