Before getting into the interceptions, here's a quick recap of the polls as of today:
Most yardage for a receiver: Johnson (25%), Timmons (20%), Badet (18%), Bone (17%), Baker (12%)
Most Receptions: Timmons (34%), Johnson (27%), Baker (15%), Bone (10%), Badet (8%)
Number 2 Running Back (by yardage): Kemp (63%), Horton (33%)
Most number of tackles: Forrest (52%), Hatcher (35%), Stamps (6%)
Most number of sacks: Hatcher (26%), Forrest (24%), Ware (24%)
So, on to interceptions. With Mark Stoops' background strongly rooted in defense, he was openly disappointed with the Kentucky Wildcats' defense only snatching three interceptions in his first season. Last year showed a dramatic improvement to 15 interceptions with A.J. Stamps making an amazing one-hander:
Of course, interceptions don't happen without the opponent tossing it around and there wasn't a need as most running games had great success. Those three interceptions came on only 28 passes defended (knockdowns/deflections). The low number is a combination of fewer passes against the UK defense AND a defense not able to make a play on the ball; likely more from the latter than the former.
Even so, only being able to get 3 of 28 (10%) is well below the rate (27%) of the combined top 25 defensive efforts last year. In 2014, UK did much better, even exceptional, when comparing their 15 INTs to 49 passes defended (31%), Even then, there were a couple of passes that could have changed game outcomes.
This year we return our leaders of last year (Stamps, McWilson) and add some other personnel to chase those errant throws. The addition of freshman Chris Westry starting at corner and another, Derrick Baity, trying to do the same on the other side, some new names enter the interception arena.
For a little help, you might check out wamarsh's preview of the D-Backs. Stoops comments have been very complimentary of the safeties and it seems he is pushing some freshmen to improve our coverage at the corners. So here it goes: