Coming off arguably the best season in its football history, the 2019 edition of the Kentucky Wildcats make their spring debut today at Kroger Field for their annual Blue-White Spring Game. Game time is set for 6 pm.
For the Wildcats, it is the first opportunity for BBN to get a look at coach Mark Stoops’ seventh edition of Kentucky football. Needless to say, Stoops is excited for Saturday night.
“I’m looking forward to the spring game, wrapping up the spring,” Stoops said. “It’s been a very productive spring.”
The Cats are going into 2019 on the heels of a 10-3 season- the best for UK in 41 years- in 2018, culminating with a victory over Penn State in the VRBO Citrus Bowl. The Cats finished #11 in the Coaches Poll as well. Heady times, indeed.
The Cats return several starters, including quarterback Terry Wilson, linebacker Kash Daniel, as well as most of the contributors along the offensive and defensive line. This spring has been very important in the sense Kentucky has to find the “next men up” with the departures of All-American and Defensive Player of the Year Josh Allen, all-time leading rusher Benny Snell Jr., and one of the most productive senior classes ever in Lexington.
With the Spring Game now upon us, what should we look for from this year’s Wildcats?
Next Man Up- When times weren’t so good in the LEX with the fortunes of the football team with injuries and such, Stoops and his coaches always stood by these words. Needless to say these words ring true again. Look for these questions to be answer in the months and days leading up to the 2019 opener August 31st against Toledo:
Which Wildcats will make the next step up and become producers on both sides of the ball?
Can AJ Rose become the every-down running back for the Cats and fill the void left by Snell?
Now that Brad White has become the new defensive coordinator, will there be slight or major changes on the defense?
Can White find the type of production Allen gave the defense from other/new sources?
What group of defensive backs takes the place of the graduated backs, several of which will play on Sundays in the NFL?
QB Progression- After starting the year somewhat skittish, Wilson caught fire late with a vastly opened-up Eddie Gran offense to lead the Cats to uncharted territory. Now in year two in Lexington, Wilson is the unquestioned leader of the offense and will be ready to lead from the first snap. His development over the winter is crucial in an offense without its bellcow in Snell. As he goes, the Cats will follow.
Expectations- For the first time in like, ever, the Kentucky football program now has the dreaded E word around the fan base and the media. In many seasons, football was just a pastime to wait upon basketball season.
No longer. BBN and all of its associates now expect a winner in football. For the first time in seven seasons at the helm, Stoops comes into the new season ready to prove 2018 wasn’t a fluke.
How will the season go? We’re about to get a preview of it.