UK football: Offensive and defensive depth charts, unit reviews

jsmith3@herald-leader.comAugust 26, 2012 

Cats on offense

Coordinator

Randy Sanders, seventh season at Kentucky, fourth as coordinator

Position coaches

Randy Sanders, quarterbacks; Pat Washington, wide receivers; Mike Summers, offensive line; Greg Nord, tight ends; Steve Pardue, running backs; Andre Woodson and Tyler Sargent, graduate assistants; Glenn Holt and Sam Simpson, student assistants

Scheme

Multiple

Last season

Kentucky finished last in the Southeastern Conference and 118th (out of 120) in the nation in total offense, managing just 260 yards per game.

Returning starters

La'Rod King, receiver; Larry Warford, guard; Matt Smith, center; Maxwell Smith, quarterback; D.J. Warren, fullback; CoShik Williams, tailback; Craig McIntosh, kicker

What to watch

In nearly every statistical category, UK had its worst offensive output in more than a decade last season, averaging just 260 yards of offense (231 in SEC play) and 15.8 points (11.8 in SEC). With all but one skill player back, the Cats will try to improve those numbers dramatically. Kentucky has a wealth of depth at running back and seems to have improved its collection of receivers.

Question marks

Will the offense look better than it did last season? Will receivers be able to start catching the ball? Will an unproven offensive line be able to hold up and give its quarterback time to work the offense? But the most basic question going into the season is: Will the offense be able to score points?

Outlook

The numbers last season made offensive coordinator Sanders sick through parts of the off-season, but he has said he already has more faith in the offense this season than he did through much of last season. The offense will be relying on young players again to be successful, but they're not fresh-out-of-high school green, which should help. The offense is going to need to find its identity and its playmakers early, or it could end up losing confidence again and sputtering through the season.

Depth chart

Left tackle: Darrian Miller, Jordan Swindle

Left guard: Zach West, Teven Eatmon-Nared

Center: Matt Smith, Max Godby

Right guard: Larry Warford, Shaquille Love

Right tackle: Kevin Mitchell, Trevino Woods

Tight end: Ronnie Shields, Tyler Robinson

Wide receiver: La'Rod King, Aaron Boyd

Wide receiver: Demarco Robinson, Daryl Collins

Wide receiver: E.J. Fields, DeMarcus Sweat

Quarterback: Maxwell Smith, Morgan Newton

Fullback: D.J. Warren, Cody Jones

Tailback: CoShik Williams, Raymond Sanders

Kicker: Craig McIntosh, Joe Mansour

Cats on Defense

Coordinator

Rick Minter, second full season at Kentucky

Position coaches

David Turner, defensive line; Chuck Smith, linebackers; Mike Cassity, defensive backs; Kyle Krantz and Steven Montalvo, graduate assistants; Braxton Kelley, student assistant

Scheme

Multiple

Last season

Kentucky finished 10th in the Southeastern Conference and 58th in the nation in total defense, allowing 377 yards a game.

Returning starters

Collins Ukwu, end; Mister Cobble, tackle; Donte Rumph, tackle; Mikie Benton, safety; Martavius Neloms, cornerback (from safety)

What to watch

There have been a lot of position switches and reset glitches in the defense, but Minter hopes the end result will be a sound defensive unit. The front line consists of veterans who may have to be a stopgap as the second and third tiers of the defense (linebackers and secondary) learn their way. The secondary especially looks dangerously thin and true freshmen likely will see action at various points this season, which is always a worry. UK did see a dramatic increase in takeaways (24 last season, up from 15 the season before) and will try to keep improving those numbers.

Question marks

Will a completely rebuilt secondary and mostly untested linebacking group be able to hold up against high-caliber talent, especially in the SEC portion of the schedule? Is there enough depth in the secondary to make it through a season? Will Kentucky not only be able to keep increasing its number of takeaways, but turn them into points?

Outlook

Minter likes the team's talent and says talent overrides experience almost every time. He's banking on it with a lot of last season's backups stepping into key roles and positions. The defensive line is stacked with veterans, who have size and athleticism. Minter hopes the big guys up front, especially in the middle with Cobble and Rumph, will make up for any missteps (especially early) as the linebackers and secondary learn their way.

Depth chart

End: Collins Ukwu, Farrington Huguenin

Tackle: Donte Rumph, Tristian Johnson

Tackle: Mister Cobble, Mike Douglas

End: Taylor Wyndham, Alvin Davis

Linebacker: Bud Dupree, TraVaughn Paschal

Linebacker: Avery Williamson, Demarius Rancifer

Linebacker: Tyler Brause, Malcolm McDuffen

Hybrid safety/linebacker: Miles Simpson, Josh Forrest

Cornerback: Cartier Rice, Fred Tiller

Safety: Mikie Benton, Dakotah Tyler

Safety: Ashely Lowery, Daron Blaylock

Cornerback: Martavius Neloms, Eric Simmons

Punter: Landon Foster, Joe Mansour

Jennifer Smith

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service