With the dog days of summer in full swing, the excitement of fall not that far off gets ramped up a notch as Southeastern Conference Media Days get underway today in Hoover, Alabama with Kentucky football sure to draw interest.
Kentucky isn’t slated to take center stage until Tuesday allowing the trio to soak in all the initial questions, speculation and see just what the first day fireworks bring.
Kentucky football waits till Day 2 for the spotlight
No doubt questions will abound for all coaches and players to address the hottest topic of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL). Just how will the coaches and players handle it, will it be a distraction, and just what advice and direction are coaches giving the players.
Only time will tell with this topic.
Up first on day 1 will be Florida, LSU, and South Carolina. Three teams with a lot of questions surrounding their programs and some controversy. We have two veteran coaches and a newcomer on deck.
Florida – Dan Mullen, Zach Carter (DL, Senior), Ventrell Miller (LB, Senior)
LSU – Ed Orgeron, Austin Deculus (OT, Senior), Derek Stingley Jr. (DB, Junior)
South Carolina – Shane Beamer, Kingsley Enagbare (DE, Senior), Nick Muse (TE, Senior).
Florida and Kentucky could duke it out for second or third
While the Wildcats are stocking up on talent Florida is replacing a plethora of it that has burned the Wildcats and other SEC foes. Most notably the Kyle (Trask) and Kyle (Pitts) show. Add other receiver losses in Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes along with offensive lineman Stone Forsythe.
The Gators will have a new offensive coordinator in Brian Johnson that will have to deal with new quarterback Emory Jones.
Oh and the Trask, Pitts, Toney, and Grimes firepower accounted for 31 touchdowns that will need to be replaced from 2020.
The same can be said for Kentucky with their new offensive coordinator in Liam Coen still trying to figure out which quarterback will lead the team onto the field in 2021. But there is some experience to choose from in transfer Will Levis, and returnees Joey Gatewood and Beau Allen.
Stud receivers have been absent from the Wildcats limelight but here’s hoping some have coming out parties but there is superstar transfer Wan’Dale Robinson that will make either of the three QB’s life much easier.
Kentucky’s defense is on the rise while Florida’s went into meltdown mode as the season wound down. The Gators allowed 30.8 points per game. Dreadful losses to LSU, Florida, and Oklahoma to finish the season, saw opponents dial-up 37, 52, and then 55 points in those final contests. Add to that they lost half of those starters and monumental questions soar.
Dan Mullen will have to deal with a lot of these questions and how the Gators develop could lead to a massive showdown in Week 5 that could decide who could finish behind Georgia in the SEC East. Will Kentucky be going up and Florida down would make for a great story.
LSU more questions and controversy and the Tigers visit Lexington too
Tiger fans are usually pumping their chests and roaring with Alabama for bragging rights in the SEC West and SEC Title hopes.
But this season brings more controversy, questions, and grumbling instead of confidence.
In 2017 Ed Orgeron was hired to guide LSU and make Death Valley the fear place that all teams hate to step foot in. The hire wasn’t a big splash with fans and pundits had ammo after a so-so stint at Ole Miss.
But along came Joe Burrow and a perfect 15-0 season and National Championship so all was good again.
Alas, the Tigers couldn’t repeat and went 5-5 last year and now the school and Orgeron are dealing with him being named as a defendant in a Title IX lawsuit, with an accusation that he did not properly report a rape allegation.
Can you say rollercoaster?
This is one of those odd years where the Cats draw LSU and thankfully the Tigers are coming to the Bluegrass in week six. Another collision course for two teams that could be surging or reeling. This game figures to be a night game and Wildcat fans remember well what happened once before.
The top-ranked LSU football team came to Commonwealth Stadium in 2007 and lost for the first time in 14 games, as No. 17 Kentucky won 43-37 in three overtime periods. Oh I remember so well sitting in that rocking stadium and the pandemonium celebration that ensued and goalposts coming down.
This will be a game for the ages more than likely.
Kentucky has the Gamecocks number, Beemer has work ahead
When Kentucky was an SEC cellar-dweller everyone except Vanderbilt was a loss including South Carolina.
The Wildcats have won seven of the past eight meetings, except the last time in 2019 that they went to Columbia a 24-7 loss ensued.
But South Carolina has been in free fall for some time and made a coaching change after last year after Muschamp went to Florida and Mike Bobo took over. Enter Shane Beemer in his first head coaching position.
Beemer will turn things around, but he has a mountain of a task to overcome. MarShawn Lloyd is back along with the league’s returning leading rusher in Kevin Harris. but not experienced with Luke Doty under center.
Kentucky and South Carolina do battle on September 25, and at the conclusion, there is a strong chance the Wildcats could be undefeated.
Stayed tuned for what Stoops, Kinnard and Paschal have to say about all that on Tuesday.