#88 Kentucky Football 2012 Preview

Kentucky Wildcats

2012 Overall Rank: #88
#14 SEC
Kentucky College Football 2012 Preview
Kentucky Team Page


Kentucky climbed back to the top of the college basketball world last year.  Perhaps that allowed for the Kentucky fan base to forget the poor season their Wildcat football team had during the SEC season.  Overall, the Wildcats were not dreadful.  But in conference play, they struggled mightily.  In the SEC, quality football comes at a premium.  As primarily a basketball school, Kentucky has not done much in the way of the gridiron in years.  They are hoping that the third year under Joker Phillips will lead to plenty more victories on the field so they can have two sports with winning seasons.

2011 Record: (5-7, 2-6)
2011 Bowl: None
Coach: Joker Phillips (11-14)
Offensive Coordinator: Randy Sanders
Defensive Coordinator:  Rick Minter

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: CoShik Williams, RB, 486 yards
Passing: Maxwell Smith, QB, 819 yards
Receiving: La’Rod King, WR, 598 yards
Tackles: Martavious Neloms, S, 71
Sacks: 2 tied at 2.5
Interceptions: 2 tied at 1

Other Key Returnees: QB Morgan Newton, RB Josh Clemons, DE Collins Ukwu, RB Jonathan George, LB Alvin Dupree, DT Donte Rumph

Key Losses: LB Danny Trevathan, S Winston Guy, LB Ronnie Sneed, WR Matt Roark


Kentucky comes off of a season where they were fairly strong on the defensive side of the ball.  In the SEC, that is essential.  Comparatively, Kentucky was not nearly as good as the other squads in the league, but statistically they are not a horrible team.  The Wildcats only held teams to 24 points last year, which is pretty respectable.  They were also strong stopping the ball through the air.  They return valuable ball hawk Martavious Neloms to run things in the defensive backfield.  They gave up less than 400 yards per contest, which is not terrible with the offenses they play in the SEC.  While that number is only good for 10th best in the conference, outside of the SEC the Wildcats were stout against the competition.

The problem for the Wildcats is that they lose a lot of those strong defenders from last year.  Do-everything defender Danny Trevathan is no longer there, nor is strong tackler and ball locator Winston Guy.  Losing all of that production on defense will hurt.  If the defense cannot hold up its end of the bargain then the Wildcats will be in trouble.  Offensively, they were abysmal last year.  They were third to last in the country at just 260 yards of offense per game.  They threw for 135.58 yards per game, and only ran for 124 yards per game.  Against SEC defenses, those numbers are not going to generate many wins.  Also, they gave up too many sacks (nearly three per game) and did not get enough pressure on the quarterback.  Those numbers will have to improve this year if they wish to stay in games.

The Bottom Line:
It is not always such a bad thing to be a basketball school and vie for national championships every year.  Not every school in the SEC is going to succeed on the football field.  Joker Phillips has done a good job at Kentucky for the last couple of season’s and despite the poor offensive outputs, the Wildcats have been on the cusp of a bowl bid under his tutelage.  After losing a lot of quality defenders though, it is hard to see them taking that next step to a bowl bid.  Playing teams like LSU and Alabama do not help their cause.  Starting tailback CoShik Williams will have to do all he can to carry this offense, and is looking for a breakout year.  He will need one for the Wildcats to find their way to seven wins.

Projected Bowl: None

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 124.17 (90th in nation, 11th in conference)
Passing Offense: 135.58 (114, 12)
Total Offense: 259.75 (118, 12)
Scoring Offense: 15.83 (117, 12)
Rushing Defense: 183.17 (87, 10)
Pass Defense: 193.83 (21, 8)
Total Defense: 377.0 (58, 10)
Scoring Defense: 24.67 (53, 10)
Turnover Margin: .08 (T-49, 6)
Sacks: 1.67 (83, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 2.92 (106, 12)

Madness 2013 NFL Draft Rankings:
#86 Larry Warford