Despite being a very experienced defensive unit with several seniors, many players on the Kentucky defense will be preparing to play an opponent they have no one to compare to.
Central Michigan’s Tony Poljan, who is set to enter his first year as the Chippewas starting quarterback, has a physical attribute not many people on the planet can say they have.
Poljan stands 6-foot-7, making him a potential matchup nightmare.
When asked if he had ever played a quarterback of Poljan’s stature senior safety Mike Edwards smiled.
“I don’t think so I’ve played against some tall quarterbacks, but 6-7 is pretty tall.”
Senior linebacker Josh Allen was sure he had never seen a quarterback so tall as well, saying “He’s bigger than everyone else in the country.”
Poljan is surely a quarterback not afraid to get outside the pocket. In his freshman season, he had more rushing attempts than passing attempts in his limited role.
The big question for the Kentucky defense is how exactly can they bring Poljan down to the ground.
When asked about tackling Poljan, defensive coordinator Mike House said it’s going to require discipline on defense to contain him.
“Leverage, tackling, and explosive plays with eye discipline really determines the outcome of these games we’re going to have to tackle well to be successful.”
Allen preached making sure to hit Poljan early and often.
“Got to hit him, get the sacks, get the forced fumbles, hit him hard and hit him low.”
Kash Daniel, who will be Kentucky’s starting middle linebacker, is with Allen.
“With a guy that runs downhill as he does, you have to be low to tackle him, or else, he’s going to make you look stupid.”
There was plenty of talk about Poljan’s running ability, but there wasn’t much about his ability to throw the ball. As a freshman, Poljan made just 21 passing attempts for 78 yards.
“There’s some tape on him,” Matt House said.
When House was asked what was on that tape, there was not much mention of Poljan’s passing abilities.
“He played quite a bit actually in different situations. They wanted him to come in and run the ball, they actually rotated him in a couple of series.”
The focus will be on Poljan’s ability to escape the pocket, and bringing down a 6-7 quarterback who is good on his feet won’t be easy, but like Daniel said: “A Big tree falls hard.”