Twenty days and counting from the big season-opening showdown with Louisville, it's time to take stock and see where we are. This evaluation is a snapshot in time, only, and just a general feeling of where both teams seem to be.
Unlike last year, neither Louisville nor Kentucky are highly regarded. Both teams have lost their starting quarterback and star receivers. There are lots of question marks on both sides, so I thought I would add them up just a bit. Today, we'll begin with the offense.
Both Kentucky and Louisville have lost star quarterbacks and receivers. Louisville has an advantage at quarterback in that they have an heir apparent to Brohm in Hunter Cantwell out of Paducah Tilghman. Kentucky has now tapped Michael Hartline for the job, but Cantwell is much more proven in college competition than Hartline. Louisville has to be considered to have a clear edge at this position.
In the backfield, Louisville has 6'0", 230# bruiser Brock Bolen (gotta love alliterative "tough guy" names like that) who is returning from an injury-riddled junior year, but is extremely capable. Joining him in the backfield is Bilal Powell, George Stripling and Joe Tronzo.
Kentucky, however, has a stable of SEC-proven backs four or five deep. Alfonso Smith, Derrick Locke, Moncell Allen, Tony Dixon and John Conner are all proven players. Kentucky has a clear edge in the running back position.
At the receiver position, both teams bring back very little in the way of returning talent. Virtually none of Louisville's receivers have ever made any kind of measurable impact on a college game. Kentucky has one proven returning wideout in the charismatic Dicky Lyons Jr. and a couple of guys in Kyrus Lanxter and DeMoreo Ford who are experienced, but are currently injured. Slight advantage to Kentucky.
On the offensive line, both teams lost talented tight ends, but Kentucky returns much more experience overall. Louisville must replace three starters on the interior line, as well as their tight end, and Kentucky must replace only two, and Kentucky has the more experienced depth. Advantage -- Wildcats.
And now, as Paul Harvey likes to say, it's time for news:
- UK's Cobb might be needed at QB (Herald-Leader)
- Cats QB Hartline ready for spotlight (Herald-Leader)
- Kentucky's Hartline eager to prove he belongs (NCAAFootball.com)
- UK football coaches high on freshman receivers (Herald-Leader)
- Now a safety, Lentz makes the cut on defense (Courier-Journal)
- Mossakowski: The Impact (UK Wildcat Country)
- UK rookie Smith moves to center (WKYT)
- His feet wet, Beaumont can now dive in (Courier-Journal)
- John Clay: Cardinals plan to surprise skeptics (Herald-Leader)
- Louisville's Guy anxious to move on after shooting (Herald-Leader)
- Not easy being green (Courier-Journal)
- Cardinals look Made in Louisville (Courier-Journal)