Kentucky Football: How young are we?

Kentucky coaches are setting expectations low this year (good idea) and have been talking persistently about the youth on this team (freshmen/sophomores) being the more talented group of players. The implied meaning from the coaches was that we are younger and not as deep as other teams because of this youth movement..

Let's look at some numbers to see if this holds up just in comparison to Louisville.

When simply looking at the roster this is how Kentucky and Louisville make up their roster.

Kentucky Louisville
Freshmen 31 25
RS Freshmen 17 16
Sophomore 19 13
RS Sophomore 8 18
Junior 15 28
Senior 18 12

From this Kentucky does in fact fill its roster with a younger group of players and much shorter in the junior class. Overall these are both young teams and it is unknown how many of these large freshmen classes will end up with a redshirt. Even more telling is how that youth is being used in the "prime time" players. Below is listed the average year of each team. Numbers are given for first and second string on offense and defense then broken down to line and skill players on offense and front seven and secondary on defense. (Apologies in advance for the term "skill player" for those on offense that touch the ball, I think the line is very much a skill position, too.) I rated the players 1 thru 4 for freshman through senior and added .5 for redshirts; ie. a redshirt junior would have a value of 3.5.

Kentucky Louisville
1st Offense 3.045 3.136
2nd Offense 2.273 2.636
1st Line 2.900 3.100
2nd Line 2.200 1.800
1st Skill 3.167 3.167
2nd Skill 2.333 3.333

1st Defense 3.071 3.136
2nd Defense 2.000 1.636
1st Front 7 2.786 3.214
2nd Front 7 2.214 1.571
1st Secondary 3.625 3.000
2nd Secondary 1.625 1.750

From this it looks like Louisville has more youth pitfalls than UK, particularly the line on both sides of the ball. If they have any shortfalls in conditioning the hot humid weather on Sunday could work out much to our advantage. Another thing that surprised me was Louisville had older back-ups in their defensive secondary than the starters. UK's second string secondary is bolstered by Dakota Tyler's 3.5 rating since the other players are all 1s.

So, is Kentucky an extraordinarily young team? Not be much when compared to Louisville. I'll post later how we compare in the SEC.

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