If you were looking for widespread changes to the Kentucky Wildcats' offense after last years ... uneven effort, you might be disappointed. Seven starters return to the unit from last year, with significant losses at running back (Tony Dixon) and wideout (Dicky Lyons Jr.), but really nowhere else. A pair of losses along the offensive line should be filled fairly easily, as Kentucky has 86 returning starts there, second in the conference only to Georgia's 99. (Just because a stat isn't as big as advertised doesn't mean you can' tuse it.) Protecting the quarterback and paving the way for tailbacks shouldn't be too much of problem.
Who will be playing behind that line? Despite a push from Will Fidler, expect Mike Hartline to hold onto the starting quarterback job. Randall Cobb will take over to run the WildWildcat offense, but will otherwise see most of his playing time at WR. Walk-on Nick Melillo could join him there, with E.J. Adams also playing a major role.
Tailback could be a dogfight betwen Alfonso Smith (74 rushes, 342 yards, 2 TDs), Derrick Locke (63 rushes, 319 yards, 1 TD) and Moncell Allen (38 rushes, 206 yards, 1 TD). Several players could be in the running for tight end, with Ross Bogue and T.C. Drake among the contenders.
On defense, Kentucky faces a challenge at one of the positions in the front seven where they though they were set: Defensive end. Instead, Jeremy Jarmon is gone after testing positive for a banned substance, leaving in shambles any attempt to sketch out the front four. The right side of the line, opposite Jarmon, was already an issue.
The 'Cats are a bit thin at linebacker, but at least the MLB returns in Micah Johnson. Danny Trevathan is the favorite on the weakside spot, while a couple of players could battle on the strongside. The secondary returns CB Trevard Lindley and his four picks as well as S Winston Guy.
While the number of returning starters is encouraging, the newer members of the team don't have much time to catch up. By the end of September, the Cats are facing Florida, followed by Alabama, at South Carolina and at Auburn.
MONDAY: Kentucky Goes for Four
TUESDAY: The Lexington Ledger; 'Don't B.S. on My Leg and Tell Me It's Raining: A Memoir,' by Rich Brooks
TODAY: The Depth Chart
FRIDAY: Feedback and Conclusions