Friday, August 6, 2010
Opening camp: Kentucky
By Chris Low
Schedule: Practice starts Friday at 2:55 p.m. ET for the first group and 4:15 p.m. ET for the second group. The first day in full pads is Tuesday (Aug. 10).
What’s new: The Joker Phillips era at Kentucky is being billed as “Operation Win” as he takes over for Rich Brooks. Phillips made several changes, including bringing in Mike Summers to coach the offensive line, Tee Martin to coach receivers, David Turner to coach the defensive line, Greg Nord to coach tight ends and special teams and Rock Oliver to head up the strength and conditioning program. Summers, Turner, Nord and Oliver all had previous stints at Kentucky.
Sidelined: Redshirt freshman Mister Cobble, who would have competed for one of the starting defensive tackle spots, has been ruled academically ineligible and won’t play this season. Defensive line signee Tim McAdoo will attend junior college, while linebacker signee Tim Patterson is on hold after undergoing knee surgery.
Key battle: The Wildcats lost four starters on the offensive line, and one of the battles to watch will be at center. Junior Jake Lanefski has the most experience after moving over from guard. He’s also coming off a knee injury that caused him to miss the contact portions of spring practice. Sophomore Matt Smith and redshirt freshman Sam Simpson will both push Lanefski.
New on the scene: Prep school signee Donte Rumph qualified late after two years of trying and should be able to help on the defensive line. Redshirt freshman Qua Huzzie will battle for a starting linebacker job. Redshirt freshman Jonathan George will help spell Derrick Locke at tailback. Junior college defensive back Mychal Bailey has a chance to make an immediate impact in the secondary. A pair of true freshmen to watch are kicker/punter Joe Mansour and linebacker Avery Williamson.
Breaking out: In his first season out of junior college, Chris Matthews emerged as Kentucky’s second leading receiver a year ago. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Matthews should be even better in Year No. 2. He’s big, but can also run and will take the pressure off Randall Cobb on the other side.
Don’t forget about: Junior Ronnie Sneed has waited his turn behind Micah Johnson at middle linebacker and is healthy now after battling through a bum shoulder last season.
All eyes on: Senior quarterback Mike Hartline. This is his last chance to make the kind of mark he wants to on this program. He heads into the preseason with a slight lead, but Phillips insists the quarterback race will be wide open with sophomore Morgan Newton and redshirt freshman Ryan Mossakowski also getting every opportunity to show what they can do over this next month.
Quoting: “We want to take this program to the next level, and the way you do that is by winning the key games Kentucky hasn’t typically won, going to BCS bowls and playing for SEC championships.” -- Kentucky receiver Randall Cobb