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Kentucky’s veterans ready for Saturday’s season opener

Led by Josh Allen and Mike Edwards, Kentucky will look to their veteran defense to stop the rushing attack of Central Michigan.

Jeremy Chisenhall

With seniors Courtney Love and Kendall Randolph departing last spring, along with the transfer of Denzil Ware, the Kentucky Wildcats avoided anxiety as they returned several starters and elevated younger talents such as Jamar “Boogie” Watson and Kash Daniel.

This Saturday, the Wildcats will host Central Michigan in their season opener at Kroger Field. Star safety Mike Edwards spoke after Wednesday’s practice about how his team has been preparing for their matchup with the Chippewas.

In that preparation, the Cats will face a quarterback like they’ve never seen before: an opponent under center who stands 6’7. Tony Poljan, the starter for Central Michigan, has carried the ball (27) more times than he has attempted a pass (21).

Edwards said he's faced some tall quarterbacks during his career, but none this tall.

His teammate and fellow senior, Josh Allen, said after Wednesday’s practice that Poljan’s high delivery actually makes it easier on the edge rushers going for the ball.

Looking beyond Poljan, Edwards said Central Michigan has good players on both sides of the ball.

A key aspect to Central Michigan’s offense is their rushing attack. Running back Jonathan Ward, a junior at CMU, racked up over 1,000 yards on the ground last season and crossed the goal line 10 times. He also tacked on 48 catches for 270 yards and three additional touchdowns.

Daniel said after Wednesday’s practice that if you give Ward an inch, he’ll go a mile.

The same thing (and more) could be said about Daniel’s teammate, Benny Snell. Ward, though, failed to send any credit Snell’s way. The CMU RB said he didn’t see anything “too special” in Snell.

When Daniel was asked about these comments after practice, he said he didn’t care and that Snell probably didn’t either, adding that the Wildcats will do their talking on the field.

Daniel and Edwards also put emphasis on making a statement early, as the home crowd at Kroger Field is a key component in the Wildcats’ success.

With three days to go until the season opener, Kentucky’s defense looks poised to come out of the gate strong.