Due to some computer issues, I won't have the Georgia game preview post..."/>
Due to some computer issues, I won't have the Georgia game preview post..."/>

Kentucky Wildcats Football: What do the departures of Gibbs and Huzzie mean?


Due to some computer issues, I won’t have the Georgia game preview posted until tomorrow. For today, I want to look into the news that Jason brought you yesterday about Qua Huzzie and Josh Gibbs both leaving the program. I’m sure a lot of fans are going to say “who cares? both guys were reserves, so it’s no big deal.” I actually disagree.

I believe that Josh Gibbs’ decision to leave the team will put the defensive backfield into a tough spot. The safety positions were already thin, but now it is almost a guarantee that Faulkner, Lowery, or both will play this year. I really thought this would be Josh’s breakout season and I had penciled him in a starter at the free safety position. Think about it for a second.

–Winston Guy was moved to the ‘Sam’ linebacker spot.

– Mychal Bailey has been in the doghouse for most of the offseason and is suspended for the WKU game.

– Dakotah Tyler is suspended for the season and ineligible to play.

– Taiedo Smith has proved to be a decent player, but has been plagued by injuries throughout his career.

– Miles Simpson is backing up Guy at the ‘Sam’ position and is only a year removed from his position switch from running back.

– Mikie Benton is a former walk-on and converted cornerback that has little game experience.

– Martavius Neloms is currently listed as the starting strong safety.

– Glenn Faulkner missed most of the offseason conditioning and is behind the other true freshmen, much less the upperclassmen.

– Ashely Lowery is a true freshman.

That’s Kentucky’s listed safeties. After having what I considered the best spring of all the safeties, if not all defensive backs, I really thought Gibbs would come out and surprise people this season and had even started writing a post about how he could be this year’s Sam Maxwell. He has the size and speed to be an impact player, but he never saw his opportunity come. I don’t blame him for moving on either though. He was getting almost no playing time despite consistently looking good in the open practices, which can wear on anyone. I wish Josh the best in his future endeavors as he finishes up his degree and takes care of his family. I do think the defensive backfield will miss his presence though.

On to Huzzie…

I have to admit that the announcement that Huzzie would be transferring to Murray State caught me by surprise. He seemed to always have one coach or another glowing about him and had the ‘look’ of an SEC linebacker if not the height (5’10). The change in defensive philosophies essentially took away one traditional linebacker position and replaced it with an extra defensive back or linebacker, and I think Huzzie became a victim of circumstance. While this hurts depth , Kentucky does have plenty of other capable linebackers to step up. That being said, Huzzie’s departure does make one wonder about the LaGrange pipeline’s future though. In the last few classes, we’ve seen the a couple of Grangers struggle:

– Heralded kicker/punter Joe Mansour was beaten out by walk-on Craig McIntosh for kicking duties last year.

– Qua Huzzie transferring to Murray State.

– Tristian Johnson moving from LB to DE, then from DE to DT, and not really playing much at all last season.

– Demetri Merritt never made it to campus

– Mychal Bailey struggling to make it to campus, and then struggling on the field and off of it when he finally arrived.

– D.J. Stafford never make it to campus.

– Demorio Ford giving up football due to injuries.

Randall Burden has been a pretty good defensive back and could have a break out season this year (as one of Kentucky’s projected starting cornerbacks), but the Cats haven’t had a standout from LaGrange since Braxton Kelley was wearing blue. Now that Coach Pardue is a member of the Kentucky staff, it will be interesting to see if the pipeline continues.

While I’m sure there will be a couple of young players step up, losing both of these guys will hurt the defense in 2011.

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