Typically when thinking of the Kentucky Wildcats athletics one’s mind would go to their prestigious basketball program and it’s now 5 National Championships. You would not expect to think Wildcat football; however the upcoming 2012 college football season has the blue grass state thinking just that. A team that did not finish higher than 53rd in any major statistical category last season, the Kentucky Wildcats are looking to solidify themselves as a respected program in the toughest division in college football; the SEC. As well, with almost all of their significant players returning from last season Kentucky should finally begin to make noise in the definitely weaker SEC East (as opposed to the loaded SEC West).
The Kentucky Wildcats ran a two-quarterback offense which, though unconventional, can prove in some situations to confuse the defense by presenting them with different looks. Kentucky’s two quarterbacks are freshman Maxwell Smith from California and junior Morgan Newton. Both players put up similar numbers last season, and will have to improve on those totals for Kentucky’s offense to thrive and bring them wins. Newton threw for 793 yards and 8 touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 93.1 while Smith threw for 819 yards and only 4 touchdowns but had a rating 10 points higher at 103.3. Though both players’ ratings were acceptable, the production and numbers are not as both quarterbacks should throw double digit touchdowns and over 1,000 yards each respectively in order to get the best results from the dual QB threat.
The Wildcat defense was their beacon of hope from last season, and after a strong recruiting class geared towards protecting that side of the ball Kentucky is looking to make some SEC East noise. The Wildcats’ two highest rated recruits are both defensive lineman. Alvonte Bell, a 6 foot 5, 220 pound defensive end with a 4.88 40 yard dash time will be joining fellow newcomer defensive tackle Jacob Hyde who at 6 foot 2, 315 pounds will be a pain for offensive lines playing the Wildcats and will often attract double teams that will free up his teammates.
Kentucky has a relatively easy schedule this year, though the most important game could be the very first one on September 2nd against in-state rival the University of Louisville. These two schools have a long history and there is no love lost despite how either team is doing that respective season. No doubt that the Wildcats toughest test will lie at Arkansas who is one of the elite teams from the SEC West. This game will be a great indicator of just how far the Kentucky Wildcat football program has come.
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