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Kentucky spring wrap-up

5/5/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Hartline's job : Mike Hartline is Kentucky's quarterback. Coach Rich Brooks made that clear in the spring, as the Wildcats prefer to use Randall Cobb as a receiver. Hartline has vowed to be more than just a guy that doesn't get the Wildcats beat next fall. He has to keep improving, though, and play with the confidence he did in the second half of the bowl game last season.

Solid defensive nucleus: The most important recruits this offseason for the Wildcats were defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, linebacker Micah Johnson and cornerback Trevard Lindley all deciding to return to school for their senior seasons. All three are All-SEC caliber players who know what it takes to get it done in this league.

Under the radar: Some of best news for Kentucky this spring was the way some of the younger players performed, particularly on defense. Sophomore Winston Guy was a hit at free safety after moving over from cornerback. Sophomore linebacker Danny Trevathan had 11 tackles in the spring game, while redshirt freshman Collins Ukwu and sophomore Chandler Burden made big moves at defensive end.

Fall questions

Running game: Derrick Locke missed the spring after blowing out his knee late last season. The Wildcats hope he will be able to come back 100 percent. Moncell Allen was academically ineligible for the bowl game, so there are some questions surrounding his future. Alfonso Smith had a big spring, but he can't do it alone. Kentucky was eighth in the league in rushing last season.

Cobb's future: There's not a more dynamic playmaker on Kentucky's roster than Cobb. He spent most of his time this spring at receiver, even though he's a quarterback by trade. He's still going to get some chances in the Wildcat formation. How much he ends up behind center will likely depend on how well Hartline plays. Freshman quarterbacks Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski will be added to the mix when preseason practice begins in August.

Stretching the field: There wasn't much of a deep passing game last season for the Wildcats, and that becomes even more of a challenge now that Dicky Lyons is gone. Hartline has to prove that he can effectively throw it down the field, and more big-play targets at receiver need to step forward. That's where Cobb comes in along with Kyrus Lanxter and Gene McCaskill.