Yesterday sure was fun, wasn't it? The obvious number one take away from the game was the explosive offense. It's been a while since we've last seen a Kentucky team look that potent in a game. The offensive unit of Andre Woodson, Derrick Locke, Kennan Burton, Stevie Johnson and Jacob Tamme was the last group able to produce offensive fireworks of that caliber. Randall Cobb, Mike Hartline, Chris Matthews and Locke were able to do so as well, but not as consistently.
The Air Raid offense was first introduced to Kentucky when Hal Mumme took over and gifted Tim Couch with one of the most pass heaviest offenses in football history. The tradition continued with Jared Lorenzen and then Woodson, but was lost when Joker Phillips brought in Randy Sanders to implement a Pro-Style offense. It never really gained traction outside a few exceptions, and the caliber of offensive players that were being recruited were not capable of scoring in quick bursts.
Neal Brown was hired to bring the points back to Kentucky. After the first season, Brown and Stoops have returned in year two with a crop of young offensive weapons that had a promising start to their careers at Kentucky.
Patrick Towles- Redshirt sophomore: 20-29, 377 yards, 1 touchdown. 3 Carries, 30 yards, 1 touchdown
JoJo Kemp- Sophomore: 8 carries, 31 yards, 3.0 yards per carry, 1 touchdown
Mikel Horton- Freshman: 7 carries, 45 yards, 6.4 yards per carry, 2 touchdowns
Stanley "Boom" Williams- Freshman: 4 carries, 10 yards, 2.5 yards per carry
Ryan Timmons- Sophomore: 3 receptions, 75 yards, 25.0 yards per catch
Blake Bone- Freshman: 2 receptions, 65 yards, 32.5 yards per catch, 1 touchdown
T.V. Williams- Freshman: 2 receptions, 45 yards, 22.5 yards per catch
Dorian Baker- Freshman: 3 receptions, 29 yards, 9.7 yards per catch
Garrett Johnson- Freshman: 3 receptions, 25 yards, 8.3 yards per catch
In all, players that are either sophomores or freshmen accounted for 325 yards out of 656 total yards of offense. Braylon Heard (junior) accounted for 116 yards on the ground and two TD's, and Steven Borden (senior) had three receptions for 32 yards. Javess Blue (senior) had 2 receptions for 42 yards before going out with a minor ankle injury. While all three are upperclassmen, they are Wildcats because of Mark Stoops.
Towles committed under Joker Phillips, but his growth and maturation at his position is due in part to his own personal dedication, and partly due to the tutelage and encouragement of his new coaching staff. Would we have seen this version of Patrick Towles under Phillips and Sanders? I highly doubt it.
UT-Martin was certainly an inferior opponent but Kentucky did what they were supposed to do to them: they absolutely throttled them. Ohio will be a step up in competition on Saturday but I fully expect the offensive firepower to be on display. We will really see what this young unit is made of when the head down to the Swamp in two weeks.
There will be growing pains along the way, but Stoops and Brown have a system in place and they are recruiting the players that will make it the most effective. Blue chip quarterback Drew Barker will redshirt and learn the system as Towles guides the ‘Cats for the next few seasons. The top overall running back in the country, Damien Harris, was in attendance yesterday and he had to like what he saw from Kentucky's ground attack. Vince Marrow meanwhile continues his excellent recruiting job, while the Wildcats make strides on the field.
And let's not forget receivers Thadeus Snodgrass, Alex Montgomery, and Jeff Badet, were all sidelined yesterday due to injuries.
It's going to be a lot of fun watching these young players learn and grow this season and the ones ahead.