In the aftermath of the gridiron Cats' big Music City Bowl win over Clemson, there had been a trickling of news untill this past week. In a matter of days, two big stories broke that could have wide ramifications for next season.
First and foremost, embattled Defensive Coordinator Mike Archer -- whose unit improved tremendously over the final weeks of the season -- has stepped down to take the same position at NC State. New Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien was a colleague of Archer's at Virginia from 1991-92.
The change could be good for a young, talented defensive group. Kentucky finished the year No. 118 (out of 119 Division I-A teams) in total defense. In particular, the secondary was a problem, with the Cats No. 118 in passing defense, while clocking in at No. 108 in rushing defense. The saviour? Takeaways. An opportunistic defense kept the Cats close much of the year.
On the other side of the ball, a couple of talented offensive upperclassmen are considering their professional possibilities. While star receiver Keenan Burton maintains he is "50-50" on going to the NFL, fellow junior Rafael Little -- who was curtailed much of the year by injuries -- announced he will return to Kentucky for his senior season.
Certainly, the decision to forgoe one's eligibility is always a tough one, but Burton would be best served to try and be objective, and not let the decision of best friend Mike Bush of Louisville (going pro) influence his decision. If anything, Burton should look at the big-time announcements of Calvin Johnson (Ga Tech) and Dwayne Jarrett (USC) to the NFL show him that their could be a crowd at the top.
That said, good luck to Burton in making his decision. Obviously, we're selfish enough to think he should return and catch another 12 TDs from Andre' Woodson.