Kentucky Football: Defensive line play is the top headline entering fall camp

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images /

Kentucky Football kicks off Fall camp on Sunday. The top headline entering the season is most definitely the defensive line.

Kentucky Football will set to embark on their journey to win the SEC East on Sunday. With Fall camp getting underway, the top headline that everyone will be following is the progress of the defensive line.

It’s not a secret, the interior defensive tackle position in addition to the nose tackle spot is the weakest position group on this team. It’s also the group with the least depth and experience. With the depth chart being released, analyzing the defensive line spots was one of the first things many fans did.

Let’s take a look at those positions and the two deep players that will generate most of the production.

Defensive Tackle:

  1. No. 99   Adrian Middleton, Jr
  2. No. 59   Kordel Looney, Fr-RS

Nose Guard:

  1. No. 77   Naquez Pringle, Sr
  2. No. 69   Matt Elam, Sr

Defensive End:

  1. No. 90   TJ Carter, So
  2. No. 20 Kengera Daniel, So

Defensive End/OLB:

  1. No. 35   Denzil Ware, Jr
  2. No. 31   Jamar “Boogie” Watson, Fr-RS
  3. No. 45   Jaylin Bannerman, Fr-RS


Aside from Denzil Ware, who is definitely the biggest threat in this group, there really isn’t much proven talent. The reason behind a lot of the inconsistent play is youth. If you look at the depth chart, there are a lot of redshirt freshmen on this list. Moreover, there are a significant number of second year players.

In addition to the young players who haven’t had a lot of experience, there are two seniors who will anchor the nose guard position. Naquez Pringle and Matt Elam both are being counted on to hold the A-gaps inside. In the base front, Elam and Pringle would be expected to be efficient in the run game, which didn’t really happen last season. The Job of the defensive line is also to do their best to take up blockers which frees up the Linebackers to make plays. Too many times in 2016 was Courtney Love having to shed blocks from offensive guards. Defenses can’t run that way and it starts with the defensive line.

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Throughout camp leading up to the first game, the focus for a lot of media outlets will be the development of the defensive line. Mark Stoops is doing his best to improve a weakness. It showed in the hiring of Derrick LeBlanc. There have been a lot of good things coming from the Kentucky Football side of things concerning their new defensive line coach. Wildcat fans are beginning to count down the days until the first game. A significant change in the way the defense plays will be crucial to the success of this team.