Kentucky Wildcats: Is this Goodbye for Mark Stoops?
The Kentucky Wildcats enter 2018 with back-to-back seven-win seasons that resulted in bowl losses. Head coach Mark Stoops is starting his sixth season in Lexington and his seat is getting hot. Kentucky was a one-point loss to Florida away from a 6-0 start a year ago. The late-season collapse is what has the coals getting warmer. While football will never sniff the importance of basketball for Big Blue Nation, the Kentucky faithful will not continue to tolerate mediocrity. Let’s break down how the Wildcats are looking for the upcoming year.
KENTUCKY WILDCATS OFFENSE
The Wildcats have two legitimate stars on offense with JR RB Benny Snell and SR TE C.J. Conrad. Snell rushed for 1333 yards and 19 TDs in 2017. At 6’5” 245 pounds, Conrad has NFL size and ability. With 286, he has the second highest total of receiving yards returning to the team. The quarterback position is the biggest unknown entering 2018. No quarterbacks on the roster attempted a pass in 2017. Junior QBs Gunnar Hoak (2016 HS Recruit) and Terry Wilson (2018 JUCO Transfer) will compete to replace Stephen Johnson as the starter. Neither has emerged as of today. Hoak is more of a pocket passer while Wilson, a former Oregon Duck signee, is more of a dual threat. For Kentucky to have any success this year, one or the other will have to emerge quickly.
KENTUCKY WILDCATS DEFENSE
Edge Rusher Josh Allen has some first-round buzz surrounding him. He has amassed 14 sacks over a two-year span, including 10.5 TFL a year ago. Senior safety Mike Edwards returns after racking up 96 tackles and four interceptions last season. They will need someone to replace the hole left behind by the graduation of linebacker Courtney Love.
4-8 OVERALL, 1-7 SEC (7TH IN SEC EAST)
PROJECTED WINS: Central Michigan, Murray State, Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee
PROJECTED LOSSES: @Florida, Mississippi State, South Carolina, @Texas A&M, @Missouri, Georgia, @Tennessee, @Louisville
The Kentucky Wildcats lack of an established quarterback will be killer during the first month of the season. Games against Florida, Mississippi State, and South Carolina in September could set them back into a hole they can’t climb out of. Will the Kentucky brass tolerate another year of perceived underachieving from Mark Stoops? I guess only time will tell.
What do you think of the Kentucky Wildcats in 2018? Let us know in the comments!
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