Kentucky took a bit of a beating last night at the hands of Alabama. The 48-7 loss was the Wildcats’ worst this season but it was hardly unexpected. The Crimson Tide are the cream of the crop in college football and the Cats aren’t their equal. Most fans did hope to see a closer contest than the blowout but many just wanted to get the game over with and move on to the rest of the schedule.
Well, the softer half of the schedule is here, but Kentucky didn’t make it unscathed. The Wildcats had several players injured during the game, including starting quarterback Jalen Whitlow, who had just appeared to turn a corner the week prior against South Carolina. The injury was particularly damaging because the offensive gameplan included a heavy dose of quarterback runs and zone-reads, plays that backup Maxwell Smith doesn’t excel at. Whitlow has been diagnosed with a sprained ankle and x-rays were negative, so he may be able to play against Mississippi State.
Which brings us to my next point, Kentucky’s bye week couldn’t come at a better time. Kentucky has roughly a dozen players who are injured in some fashion. Many of them are serious contributors. Bud Dupree, Kevin Mitchell, Jason Hatcher and Fred Tiller are headliners of the group. With eleven days until the game in Starkville, these guys can get some rest and hopefully heal up.
The bye also provides Kentucky’s coaches an opportunity to clean up some sloppy play that showed up in the Alabama loss. It also gives the players time to watch the tape and make some adjustments. After the game senior running back Raymond Sanders told reporters that the team’s leadrs weren’t going to put up with anyone giving less than full effort, regardless of a game’s score or win-loss record.
The next week could be the turning point in Mark Stoops’ first season. The team has a chance to rest up and get mostly healthy (depending on what kind of sprain Whitlow has). The team’s seniors have indicated that there will be an attitude change coming. The schedule gets a little bit easier, starting with a Mississippi State squad that squeaked by lowly Bowling Green this week. A win in Starkville could get the ball rolling for two or three more to finish the season.