clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kentucky’s offensive line issues are fixable

The young group just needs more snaps played together.

Eli Cox. Tashawn Manning. Isamu Haynes-Sunayama - Sea of Blue

The Kentucky Wildcats came away with a 37-13 victory Saturday night to start the season with a 1-0 record.

Despite the win, there was one area that has reason for concern and that is this year’s Big Blue Wall.

Under Mark Stoops, the offensive line has been the Cats’ strength and has been ranked as one of the best in the country the last several years.

On Saturday, Will Levis was dealing with a lot more pressure than he did a year ago and more than any other QB has dealt with in recent seasons.

Levis was sacked 4 times (3 times on 3rd down) Saturday night, and for comparison, he was sacked on average just over 1 time a game last season.

The difference this season is the lack of experience the line has overall. Eli Cox started last season but wasn’t the starting center like he is now. Saturday night also saw two redshirt freshmen, David Wohlabuagh and Jager Burton, get the start at left tackle and left guard.

On the right side, Tashawn Manning and Jeremy Flax have experience, but this is the first time they are consistent starters.

After the game, Cox spoke to the media where he acknowledged that the line didn’t play up to the standard of the Big Blue Wall.

“A win is a win. We are not going to apologize for that.” Cox stated. “It was a great team win. A lot of guys got to play in some new spots. But I mean obviously that is not the standard with our Big Blue Wall. We’ve got to earn that title back, and we have to have good preparation and have more snaps under our belts so the group can gel and start to be a cohesive unit.”

The issues that we saw on Saturday night aren’t an issue of lack of talent, rather it is an issue of lack of previous playing time together as a unit.

“They just haven’t played together,” Kentucky offensive coordinator Rich Scaganrello said. “Kenneth had played with those guys, so we eased him in last week, and he didn’t even really run with the 1s. He just wasn’t there yet in football shape. Excited to get him back because he’s so important.

“But Jager is showing promise, Tashawn is showing promise, I know Eli gave up a sack on a play where he’ll learn from that. The tackles, starting a freshman at left tackle ain’t easy. We’ll learn from all that, and they’ll come together, and I would like to think that we’ll only get better from this day forward.”

Cox agreed that the issue was a lack of playing time together, but also said the Saturday issues are fixable.

The Cats will have one week to get some of their week 1 issues worked out as they will face their toughest test of the young season with a week 2 road trip to face the Florida Gators.

That game will kickoff at 7:00 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN.