I find that I cannot answer my own question. I want to belive it is good, but there are reasons that I am given pause. I am convinced that Michael Hartline is growing up at quarterback before our eyes, but it takes two to make a pass connection, and I think our receivers are simply not cutting it. I know they are young, and I understand that we are used to having clean-running, glue-handed receivers that would play every play to the whistle, rarely blow a pattern and almost never drop a pass that hit them anywhere near the hands. But what we have right now is a receiving corps which, when you take away Dicky Lyons, is just not a viable option.
But what of the running game? We at a Sea of Blue, as well as many other blogs and websites, spent all summer touting our stable of four strong backs as evidence of another great UK ground game. But get this -- against UK's two D-I opponents, the 'Cats have averaged two (2) yards per carry on the ground. That isn't anemic, it is unacceptable. Derrick Locke, for example, is leading all UK rushers with a three (3) yard-per-carry average. Just think -- if we give it to Locke every time, we can recreate the famous Woody Hayes "Three yards and a cloud of dust" offense. But just barely, and if we never substitute. I know it is not all the fault of the backs, but some of it is.
Which leaves only one thing -- the defense. The defense which looked so good against Louisville, allowing them 205 total yards and holding I-AA Norfolk state to only 164 total yards, but then allowed MTSU to rack up an impressive 383 yards of offense. Yes , a big chunk of that came on 3 large plays, including that 60 yard "Hail Mary" at the end of the game. But if MTSU can rack up our defense for almost 400 yards with their plain-vanilla spread, what will the Heisman Trophy winner-led Urban Meyer spread do to us in the Swamp? Just thinking about it makes me cringe. Alabama in Tuscaloosa? I don't want to think about it.
Kentucky needs to get better in almost every area, and that right soon. Quarterback seems to be coming along nicely, but the defense is revealing a schizophrenic streak in the backfield and the offense is one-dimensional because the receivers can't seem to ... well, receive. Neither of those is anything like a recipe for success in the SEC and if Dr. Brooks & Co. wants to avoid an ignominiously bad SEC portion of the season, he had better prescribe something powerful pretty quickly.
I don't mean to be a doomcrier, and I think MTSU is way better than they get credit for, but with that said, Kentucky must show much more against Western than they have shown against any foe so far if we want to have confidence that they can compete with the Alabamas and the South Carolinas, or even the Vanderbilts (who, by the way, are 3-0 against much better comp than UK has played). And I'm not even going to mention the injuries.
Ok, so now I ask you -- am I wrong to be concerned? Help me out here, Big Blue Nation. Convince me that I should be more optimistic. I badly want to be convinced, so you are starting out with a willing subject.