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Post-spring depth Chart: Offense


By Kyle

With spring practice wrapped up, the depth chart is a little more solidified now. I’ve been keeping a running account of who’s moving up or down and things should be set for the time being. Here’s my final take on the depth chart and this is assuming the season started tomorrow. Keep in mind that the arrival of the freshmen and JUCO Safety Mychal Bailey will probably shake things up this summer.

Quarterback – Mike Hartline – SR
Prior to his injury during the South Carolina game, Hartline was having a pretty good season. This spring he showed that he is going to offer the most consistent option at the position. As camp progresses, he’ll have to work harder to hold off the talented younger players, but his experience and leadership should allow him to remain the starter into the season. From what I saw during the open practices, Newton and Mossakowski are neck and neck for the backup spot, and not that far behind Hartline. A great camp by either and the race could bust wide open again.

Running back – Derrick Locke – SR
Locke wasn’t the most impressive option this spring, but that was due to the limited amount of contact coaches allowed. I think everyone knows what Locke brings to the table and there was no need to risk injury by allowing him to take unnecessary hits. The real race was for the backup position and the young players did not disappoint. Sophomore Donald Russell and Freshman Jonathan George showed this spring that Kentucky has a solid stable of Running backs and all three should see extensive time on the field with UK typically using a rotation at the position. Expect Locke to get the lion’s share of the carries though.

Fullback – Moncell Allen – SR
Because of Allen’s limited contact this spring, this is based more on potential than proof. He is a bowling ball of a back and has the best frame for the position at this point. He needs to make sure that he can step into running lanes to seal off Linebackers and provide a reliable target out of the backfield or junior Greg Meisner could unseat him. Worse yet, a poor showing this summer by both could lead to a heavier emphasis on three receiver and two Tight End sets. Kentucky will undoubtedly miss John Conner’s contributions this season.

Tight End – Anthony Kendrick – FR
This is probably the position that is least certain on the team. It seems like each player on the roster does one thing really well but struggles in other areas. I’ve slated Kendrick as the starter based solely on potential and receiving ability. He’s the biggest of the options at the position and the most athletic. If he can put it all together (and that’s a big if), he should win the job. Wallace looked good as a run blocker but needs to work on his receiving skills. Aumiller has loads of potential but still needs some refining. Melillo is probably the most complete player of the group and has the most experience, but his ceiling is significantly lower than some of the other options. I have a hard time believing that he will win a starting spot unless Kentucky all but ditches the Fullback position in favor of a two Tight End set. I would anticipate true freshman Alex Smith to heavily factor into the discussion before camp is over this August.

Wide Receiver – Randall Cobb – JR
This is by far the easiest position to call. You can bet that Cobb will be on the field in some capacity on almost every offensive play.

Wide Receiver – Chris Matthews – SR
This looked a lot more certain before spring than it does now. Matthews played well and didn’t really disappoint in any way, but sophomore Larod King has made strides to see the field extensively and looks to all but have locked down the third receiver job. Freshman Brian Adams had a break out spring and looks to have solidified a spot in the rotation. Juniors Gene McCaskill and Matt Roark should provide depth and sophomores Aaron Boyd and E.J. Fields will still have plenty of opportunities to make an impression before the season starts.

Left Tackle – Billy Joe Murphy – JR
From what I saw, Murphy has a slight edge on Burden on the left side. He’s not as athletic, but you can tell he’s more instinctive at the position and his experience playing behind and learning from Gary Williams and Zipp Duncan has helped. With an entire summer to work and learn from coach Summers, counting Burden out would be extremely premature. With his athleticism, he may end up winning the job by the time the season starts. I had anticipated Dave Ulinski competing for a shot at Left Tackle, but he is still listed as a Guard on the roster.

Left Guard – Stuart Hines – JR
Hines has flipped over the left side this season after playing on the right side for most of his career. Hines was an all-SEC performer last season and should be the leader of the unit this year. He could be spelled from time to time by Jake Lanefski or Dave Ulinski, but it would be shocking if he were unseated as the starter by anyone.

Center – Matt Smith – SO
This is probably the most intense battle on the offensive line. Smith has a leg up on the others by my account and could separate from the pack by this summer. Marcus Davis appears to be the top contender to unseat Smith and the senior looks to be recovering well from his injury against Louisville. Sam Simpson has the most upside of the group but is also being cross-trained as a guard. That in itself doesn’t bode well for his chances to win the starting job.

Right Guard – Larry Warford – SO
Warford saw extensive time on the field last season backing up Christian Johnson and should have no trouble winning the starting job on the right side this year. He needs to work on his pass protection, and could see Jake Lanefski subbed in for him on obvious passing downs. He should only get better as his career continues and it looks like he is just scratching the surface of his potential.

Right Tackle – Brad Durham – SR
He saw the field extensively as a backup to Justin Jeffries last season. He should see little challenge from Trevino Woods or Ian Anderson while the younger players get a better feel for the position. By the end of camp this summer, Dave Ulinski may be moved to tackle or the massive Kevin Mitchell may emerge as an option as a rotational player.

So there you have it. My extremely unofficial post spring depth chart for the offense is not released by the University and is based solely on my observations and opinions from observing some of the open spring practices. I’ll have the defensive depth chart tomorrow at 2:00 PM

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