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Closing Thoughts On Kentucky vs Louisville
September 3, 2012KentuckySports.co
While I believe that I am in the minority of UK fans about the Kentucky vs Louisville game, I believe there were some positives that you can take away from this game. That being said, there are also some negatives you can take away from the game and what could possibly needed to be improved. So withouth any further introduction, let's take a look at some of the things I took away from the game:
While there isn't any fun in getting beat by 18 points by your rival, there were some positives that I thought Kentucky could build upon. Let's start with the quarterback, Maxwell Smith. Smith was 35 of 50 in passing, collected 280 yards through the air and connected with 11 different receivers during the game. In my opinion, that's a huge step forward in the development of his game. With the passing game as dismal as it was last year, I felt like the Kentucky quarterback made smart plays. Not trying to force the issue, and checking down to his check down receivers. You also have to give the offensive line credit for holding their ground against a great defense that was blitzing from different parts of the field.
Another thing that I felt was positive were the running backs. Now, stick with me, folks. I know Kentucky only had 93 yards on ground, BUT you have to look deeper into it. CoShik Williams ran the ball very well on his 10 carries for 62 yards, and was complimented nicely by Raymond Sanders, who had three carries for 38 yards. Both of them caught the ball well out of the back field, combining for six catches and 44 yards. Now, if you combine the total offense from those two, that's a total of 144 yards of offense you get just from your running backs.
A third thing that I felt was positive from this game, were the receivers. It was very well documented last year, that the receivers were flat out horrible in terms of catching the football. But as I said earlier, 11 different guys made at least one catch during the course of the game. LaRod King made plays for the Wildcats when the plays were needed to be made. I felt like he was also complimented well by freshman wide receive, Daryl Collins, who had seven catches and even Aaron Boyd, who saw limited action last year, stepped up with three catches.
The final thing that I felt went well for the Wildcats, was the special teams. Now some of you may say, "gee, Brad, what's so great about special teams?" Well, I'm here to tell you that I felt like Landon Foster did very well in his first game as the new punter for the Wildcats. Although he only punted twice, he totalled 88 yards with his two kicks, and put the Cardinals deep in their own territory with those kicks. The return game wasn't that bad either. I thought CoShik Williams and DeMarcus Sweat did a pretty good job at bring the ball out and giving the offense good field position to work with.
While everything wasn't happy-go-lucky with the team as you may think I am trying to play out as, there were some negatives that Kentucky did have during the game.
The first one, obviously, was the defense. While Louisville is a great offensive team, they aren't necessarily what Kentucky is about to face come SEC play. I felt that there were a lot of mistakes made on defense that allowed Louisville to march up and down the field on the defense. Now, to put things into perspective, this defense is a very young group. It's going to take time for them to get adjusted to college-level style of play--a much faster one. There's going to a learning curve with the defense, but for the most part there were a lot of mistakes made. I felt like Teddy Bridgewater had way, and I mean way, too much time to sit in the pocket and pick apart the Kentucky secondary. That being said, Kentucky also has to do a better job at stopping the run. Louisville had two players go over 100 yards rushing, which opened up the passing game. If you stop the run, it makes it tougher for offensive coordinator to put together a better game plan. I would like to assume that Rick Minter is already back at the drawing board, making his defensive scheme better.
While the offense looked much improved from last year, there were two plays that were not only difference makers, but game changers. I'm talking about the two fumbles from CoShik Williams and Raymond Sanders. With the way Kentucky has struggled in the past to put the ball in the endzone, it is extremely important that Kentucky takes care of the football. As I have stated many times before that I think the offense has improved, Kentucky cannot afford to lose the football while it's on offense. I say that because the defense is too young and inexperienced for them to continually withstand the opposing team's offense. Now, I'm not the type of person to play scenarios, but IF Williams and Sanders do not fumble in the red zone and Kentucky converts them into touchdowns, Kentucky is only down four points.
That's all for me. I understand losing to your rival totally sucks. But I really felt like the good outweighed the bad in this game. I think Kentucky has a lot of upside to their season. While they may not win more than three or four games this year, I can look to the future and say this team is going to be getting progressively better, not only as the season goes on, but as the years go on. You can follow me on twitter @stieneKYSCO . Go Big Blue.