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Gridiron Thursday: Keenan Burton gets love, team gets dissed a dose of reality

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So just how good is Keenan Burton, anyway?  Well, Lindy's says "He was good; now he's scary good", in a relatively new article dated July 1st.

Chip Cosby, the author of the article, details some of the things that make Keenan special:

Burton has the speed to beat defenders, but what makes him unique is his exceptional timing and leaping ability. His vertical jump was measured at an astounding 43.5 inches at Kentucky's Pro Day in March, and he makes a habit of gaining position on defensive backs and going up over the top of them to bring the ball down.

43.5 inch vertical on a football player??  Great Googly-Moogly!  I don't think we have a basketball player on our current team with those kind of ups.  

Of course, freakish athleticism does not a wide receiver make -- you have to be able to catch that funny-looking oblong ball, not just beat everyone to it, and it seems Burton has that skill also.  Last year's 77 catches for 1,036 yards and 12 touchdowns are not the kind of numbers Marvin Stone-hands would put up if he had been capable of playing football.  A pity he wasn't that good at basketball, either.

But back to Burton.  It seems most of the SEC expects him to excel this year, even if they have much less respect for any Wildcat not named Burton, Little or Woodson.  But that is the subject for later.

Burton is getting some recognition from the know-it-alls of the football world.  Mel Kipper has Burton at #24 on his Big Board for 2008, so that is recognition of a sort, I suppose.  Lindy's tabs him at #14 in the wide receiver category, and that only 4 schools in the country are picked higher than UK in the receiving corps.  Burton is no doubt the major reason why.

In other football news, some of SB Nation's SEC bloggers are starting to look at Kentucky's chances, and I don't see much bowing and scraping to the threat of our offensive skill players.  That's probably because they all know that our O-line and defense in general is likely to ... what's the word I'm looking for? ... Ah, yes -- SUCK -- by way of comparison.  

For example, Kyle King of Dawg Sports ranks us above only Troy and Western Carolina as toughness of opponent this year -- even below Vandy (because the Dawgs get UK at home).  It's obvious Woodson, Burton and company don't exactly strike the fear of God into him.

I know, I know ... I'm the one who has been all "Rah rah" lately about the 'Cats chances this year, and I am writing a series called "Return to Glory" (a bit metaphorical, that).  Occasionally, however, we at A Sea of Blue must allow reality, however unpleasant, enter into our Blue World Order.  

The best that you can say about our offensive line right now is that they are "unproven".  Likewise for the defense, the best we can say at this point is that they are likely to suck less than last year.  Not exactly cause for running out to Vegas and placing 10K on the 'Cats to play in the BCS.

What I am saying is; I will let most of this casual disrespect go by unchallenged, because, well frankly, it's impossible to challenge at this point.  Our team should be the best in years, but as we all know, we are facing arguably the toughest schedule in our entire history, and certainly the toughest in recent history.  Yes, we have a lot of home games -- against top 15 opponents!  Optimism will only take us so far, and I refuse to cross the line into fantasy.

But I am going to stick by my contention that we will pull two upsets this year and hold our own on the "easy" part of the schedule, which should get us bowl eligible.  But winning seven games this year will be an impressive accomplishment, and represents significant, if not totally unwarranted, optimism.

Larry Vaught just came out today with an article in the Danville Advocate-Messenger suggesting Rich Brooks would be better off moving Micah Johnson to DE rather than leaving him at MLB, backing up Braxton Kelly.  I think Brooks should listen to him.  Wildcat's Thunder mentioned this earlier, and it has been out there a while.

I agree with Vaught.  Johnson is too good not to be out on the field.

Update [2007-7-5 17:50:35 by Truzenzuzex]:  Not sure who this guy is, but my feed reader says he is from WQXI-AM in Atlanta, and he says Rich Brooks has taken UK from "Obscurity To Respectability In The SEC".  He has some nice observations.