Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Midseason review: Kentucky
By Edward Aschoff
Record: 2-4 (0-3 SEC)
Most figured that Kentucky would struggle without offensive playmakers like Randall Cobb, Chris Matthews, Mike Hartline and Derrick Locke, but few thought it would be this bad. Kentucky has yet to gain more than 344 yards in a game and is currently last in the conference in scoring (13), total offense (229), passing (119) and passing efficiency (78.5). Quarterback Morgan Newton hasn’t looked good all season, passing for 664 yards with six touchdowns to seven interceptions. He’s also completing just 45.7 percent of his passes. Coach Joker Phillips has messed around with putting freshman Maxwell Smith in, but when he’s played he’s looked worse.
The offensive line has really struggled and Kentucky’s receivers are nowhere to be found. Making things worse is that the defense is still struggling to keep opponents off the scoreboard. The Wildcats are allowing 408.5 yards per game and teams are scoring a league-high 29.5 points a game on them. Even with a more exotic and aggressive style from new defensive coordinator Rick Minter, this defense hasn’t made significant improvements. Kentucky is going in the wrong direction and its bowl hopes diminish each week. If the offense doesn’t have a second half revival, the Wildcats won’t make a bowl for the first time since the 2005 season and Phillips will feel some major heat in Lexington.
Offensive MVP: RB Josh Clemons. It’s hard to find much going on with Kentucky’s offense, but Clemons has been a bright spot. Phillips considers him one of Kentucky’s more talented players. The true freshman was thrust into the starting lineup after Raymond Sanders went down with a knee injury and has rushed for 279 yards and two touchdowns on 65 carries.
Defensive MVP: LB Danny Trevathan. This really isn’t a surprise. Trevathan has been one of Kentucky’s best players overall for the past two years. Trevathan leads the SEC with 72 tackles (12 per game), with 35 of them solo, and has two sacks. He also has an interception and has forced two fumbles.