Matthews could be Kentucky's other threat

There’s a reason Kentucky spent so much time on the passing game this spring.

“For us to get where we want to go, we have to throw the ball much better next season,” Kentucky coach Joker Phillips said.

Senior quarterback Mike Hartline exited the spring as the likely starter in the fall, and it’s no secret around the SEC what Randall Cobb can do once he gets his hands on the ball.

But Cobb is going to need more help in 2010, which makes this summer a big one for senior receiver Chris Matthews.

The 6-5, 222-pound Matthews looks more like a tight end, but has outstanding speed for a guy his size. After coming over from junior college last year, Matthews had a solid first season for the Big Blue, catching 32 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns.

This spring he looked primed to make an even bigger impact. First-year Kentucky receivers coach Tee Martin said Matthews has the same ability some of his top receiving threats at Tennessee did in 1998, when Martin was quarterbacking the Vols to a national title.

Having been through a season now in the SEC, Matthews should be better at getting open and demanding the ball.

Hartline has already seen that side of him this year.

“He comes to me and Morgan (Newton) after film study and says, ‘You need to throw me the football more,’” Hartline said. “He’ll say, ‘I know your reads may take you elsewhere, but I want to be like Randall, a guy you’re going to know where I’m going to be on the field at all times.’

“Chris has been making those plays. He’s a big, strong receiver and knows what kind of impact he can have for us on offense next season.”