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Kentucky Football: 5 things to watch for in Blue-White Game

Football is back and fans finally have a reason to be excited.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Kentucky
Benny Snell will be a big part of the Cats success this season.
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally football season (sort of), and fans finally have a reason to be excited!

The Kentucky Wildcats football team will kick-off their annual Blue-White spring football game tonight at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on SEC Network.

There is going to be a lot to look for in the game, but I think there are five very important people/things to watch for in the game tonight.

1. Benny Snell Jr.

Of course Benny Snell is going to be one of the first people that comes to mind when you think of game changers. The sophomore running back is coming off of a 1,000 yard rushing year where he basically only played eight games. Snell was a part of the exciting and hard-running duo of Stanley “Boom” Williams and of course, Benny Snell Jr. Snell says that he knows the offense better this spring than he did last season, so that should be big for the sophomore. If the Cats are going to have success, they will have to establish the run game with Benny Snell.

2. Stephen Johnson.

The senior transfer quarterback is coming off a season where he passed for 2,037 yards and completed 55 percent of his passes. Johnson also added 13 passing touchdowns to his stat line. Johnson may have the record of 7-5 but, when Johnson as a starter is actually 7-3 and helped the Cats to a huge victory over a top-10 team in the Louisville Cardinals (yes!!!). Johnson wasn't always perfect though, as he did have some issues with ball control throughout the year. In the spring game tonight, make sure you pay attention to how he is carrying himself and how well his ball security is.

Also, I know everyone is saying Drew Barker should still be the starter. Well, Barker will still have his chance, but no matter what happens in the spring game, I still believe Johnson will be the man that takes the first snap. You just can’t take what Johnson done for the Cats last season.

3. The Defensive Line.

The Cats have a new D-Line coach in Derrick LeBlanc. LeBlanc is coming off of a turnaround season at the University of North Texas. The Mean Green program only won one game in 2015 and won five in 2016 when LeBlanc became the defensive line coach. The D-Line has excelled in the spring according to the coaching staff and media. A big help to the D-Line will be returning starters Adrian Middleton and Junior Nose Guard Naquez Pringle who showed drastic Improvement lasts season.

Most eyes will be on Nose Tackle Matt Elam, who was, “disappointing”, as most would say last season. Most reports are saying that Elam is in a lot better shape and has improved throughout the spring. The Cats will need ALL of these guys to be big this year to have success.

4. Tight Ends.

The Wildcats have two really good tight ends in Junior C.J. Conrad and Senior Greg Hart. Conrad who had 19 receptions and 262 yards last season and most people believe he is a top-10 Tight End this season. The real question is: Will C.J. and Johnson finally be able to hook up and make plays on a consistent basis?

Hart only had six receptions for 32 yards, but most reports are saying that Hart made drastic Improvements in the spring.

5. The Offensive Line.

The Offensive line lost a major key to their success last season, Center Jon Toth. Toth was a top-5 Center in College Football Last season. So, who will step up for the Cats this season? My money is on Nick Haynes. Haynes brings a lot of leadership to the line and is one of three starters returning from last season.

If the Cats are going to have a big running game again and be able to give Johnson time to throw the ball in the SEC, then the Cats need to make a big mark on the offensive line.

There are a lot of things to keep your eyes open for tonight in the Spring Game, but if you keep in mind these five things, you should have most of it covered.

The Blue-White spring game will be in prime-time as it begins at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on SEC Network. The announcers will be Taylor Zarzour, Chris Doering, and Dawn Davic.