Kentucky’s Thursday nigh..."/>

Kentucky’s Thursday nigh..."/>

Kentucky Wildcats Football: The Morning after – WKU edition


Kentucky’s Thursday night game against the Hilltoppers did not go as most fans (including myself) thought it would. From the very beginning of the contest, The Wildcats looked to be missing something offensively and it lasted all the way until the final seconds ticked off of the clock. While no one should be even remotely satisfied with the performance that Kentucky turned in against WKU, a win is a win, so I’ll take it.

So what happened?

The Wildcats came out flat offensively and stayed that way. The Kentucky offensive line could not open holes against a scrappy group of Hilltoppers and Morgan Newton was given very little time on passing downs. On defense though, the beauty of Rick Minter’s scheme was apparent from the first Western possession. The Wildcats attacked the line of scrimmage and disrupted play after play in the backfield. I think that this was a perfect example of what UK fans were wary of heading into the game. The Cats came out and looked ill-prepared to play offensively and Western came out jacked up and pumped for what was really the marquee game on their schedule.

Room for improvement

First and foremost, the Kentucky offensive line absolutely MUST play better than they did against Western for Kentucky to win. Having all five starters dinged up before or during the game certainly hurt, but with Burden, Hines, Lanefski, Warford, and Murphy in the game, the Cats have four seniors and an experienced junior in the lineup. They have to make plays. Murphy in particular had a rough game, but that can probably be partially attributed to the sprained MCL he suffered during the contest.

Morgan Newton had a game that I’m sure he would like to forget. You can bet that no one will be harder on Newton than he will be on himself after this performance. He had a couple of passes float and he struggled to make sound decisions from the pocket. Granted he didn’t have a lot of time, but he’s won road games in Jordan-Hare and Stanford Stadium, so I think it’s fair to expect more from him.

The receivers were as atrocious as I’ve seen in years. LaRod King and Matt Roark accounted for too many drops and left over 100 receiving yards on the field. It’s tough for a quarterback to get his rhythm going when he is hitting a senior and a junior right in the hands and they’re repeatedly dropping the ball. The lone bright spot was Gene McCaskill’s 34-yard streak down the center of the field before halftime. The receivers will have to play better, or you can bet you’ll see some of the underclassmen playing more in the coming weeks.

He looked like he was picking up steam as the game progressed, but Raymond Sanders didn’t have the type of game he should have against a team like Western Kentucky. He was timid at times when picking a hole and while that can partially be attributed to the offensive line allowing too much penetration, sometimes a back just has to make a play. Finishing the game with 13 carries for 35 yards (2.7 AVG) is just not acceptable.

Really, the offensive gameplan needs some work too. The Wildcats finished the game 3-13 on third down conversions and same western hold onto the football for 34:00 to Kentucky’s 26:00. That is not a recipe for success against any opponent.

Bright spots

As much crap as Morgan Newton will take for this game, he really didn’t play that bad when you go back and watch the film. His nerves seemed to get the best of him early and all three of his interceptions were bad decisions, but Newton made some really impressive throws too. The long pass to King that was dropped would have been for 84 yards and he threw it on a rope. If his receivers can catch it when he hits them in the hands, Newton looks like an entirely different quarterback right now. If he can improve his decision making and accuracy (which I think he will), he looks like he will be a great player for the Cats.

The defense as a whole really played well. Bobby Rainey did finish the game with 107 yards rushing, but he had to carry the rock 28 times to get there. I thought the defensive line did a great job getting pressure on Jakes and disrupting running plays in the backfield. Western had two overthrown passes that would have resulted in touchdowns, but the announcers failed to point out the pressure Jakes was under on both throws and the effect it had on his accuracy. Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph look like a legit pair of SEC defensive tackles right now. Luke McDermott continues to surpass anyone’s expectations as well.

How about Winston Guy? He had 10 total tackles on the night, 2.5 tackles in the backfield, and two interceptions. Not bad for a guy that played hot-and-cold last season. I have mentioned in a couple of the podcasts that I really thought that the new defense would allow Winston to Shine, and he looks poised for a breakout year.

Danny Trevathan seems to never disappoint. Whichever NFL team drafts him will be getting one hell of a football player.

We never show enough love for the punters, but I can’t recap this game without singing the praises of Ryan Tydlacka. This guy was instrumental in the battle for field position and was able to average 47.1 yards per punt on his seven kicks. The most impressive part of Tydlacka’s performance though, was his placement of the football. Three of his punts stayed inside of the WKU ten yard line and he had enough hang time to only allow 2 punts to even be fielded at all, and only for 9 return yards.

Game MVP for Kentucky:

TIE Punter Ryan Tydlacka & Linebacker Winston Guy

Redshirt report

Alvin Dupree, Ashely Lowery, Demarco Robinson, Josh Clemons, Daylen Hall, D.J. Warren, and Christian Coleman all played in Thursday’s game and are no longer eligible to redshirt this season.

Keep following www. for the best in Kentucky basketball and football news, rumors, and opinions. By Kentucky fans for Kentucky fans