I see a lot of confidence in Kentucky fans regarding the Governor's Cup tomorrow, and I see an awful lot of pessimism in Louisville fans. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at either, but perhaps Kentucky fans should be a little cautious with their optimism and save the smack-talk until after the game is over. There is nothing less tasty than
Cardinal crow after an upset.
Now, don't count me among the pessimistic -- I'm not. On paper, Kentucky has a number of advantages over Louisville, and Mike over at the Card Chronicle has done a pretty fair job of detailing them. So what I propose to do here is detail the things that make me feel confident, and nervous, about tomorrow's contest.
The Kentucky offensive line. UK has one of the most experienced lines in the SEC, and they get Jorge Gonzalez back at center for tomorrow's game. Kentucky was 5th in the nation in sacks allowed last year, so if the line comes to play, Hartline will get all the time he needs to find receivers.
Trent Guy. Trent Guy is a gamebreaker, a lightning-quick athlete that, if he gets the ball in space, will leave UK defenders trying to tackle his vapor trail. This kid is fast, and reminds me a lot of Florida's Jeffrey Demps -- small, quick, and if he gets a step, gone.
Our "in the box" guys. Louisville has some very solid backs, but with the exception of the edges, Kentucky has a very experienced and talented defensive front. Even if Victor Anderson or Bilal Powell get loose a little, I think the 'Cats have the speed and athleticism to tackle them.
Kentucky's kicking game. I think our punting game is OK, but kickoffs make me nervous. We simply do not have anyone with enough leg to get the hang time we need, and Tim Masthay is not walking through that door. With dangerous returners like Trent Guy and Doug Beaumont, I have nightmares about kickoffs to the Cardinals.
Kentucky's secondary. I think that the 'Cats are going to intercept passes from Louisville if they try to throw it downfield. UK has Trevard Lindley, but the other guys in the defensive backfield are also high quality -- Paul Warford, Calvin Harrison, Winston Guy, Randall Burden and Matt Lentz all represent major threats to an untested QB.
Justin Burke. After a pedestrian outing against Indiana State, I fear that this kid will suddenly wake up and play over his head in a rivalry game. If he is able to get the ball to guys like Beaumont and Guy in space, Louisville could move the football. And if the kicking game is as bad as Brooks' fears, the Cardinals will be starting from less than 60 yards from our end zone.
Rich Brooks. I love what Papa Brooks has done over the last few years, and I am becoming a believer in his judgment, game management and experience. Brooks is the kind of coach that if you give him enough talent, he wins, and I think the Wildcats have plenty of talent for the Cardinals.
Field Goal kicking. Lones Seiber has been anything but consistent, and if the game is closer than expected, he could be the difference between a win and a loss. I don't feel good at all about having Seiber as the bulwark against a close defeat.
Well, those are the things that make me puff my chest out, and the things that make me toss and turn in the bed at night. Feel free to chime in with your observations, I'd love to hear them.