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Red Cup Quick Hits: Kentucky

BBN is very excited about football. For now.

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The first and only team in our hearts is the Ole Miss Rebels, but we have to always look around the conference to see what everyone else is cooking. Red Cup Quick Hits will take fans through the SEC leading up to season kick-off, so fans will know enough just to survive in the office every day with that other team’s fan that annoys them.

This is basically the worst case scenario from a Southeastern Conference eastern division schedule perspective.

The Wildcats lose do-everything quarterback/wide receiver Lynn Bowden who is now a Las Vegas Raider. UK opens at Auburn, and they’ll face trips to Tennessee, Missouri, Alabama, and Florida. The last of which come in consecutive weeks.

To make things worse, the Cats toughest four games come in pairs of two. Kentucky’s home schedule features four winnable games plus Georgia but that road stretch could quickly turn into 0-5 if Missouri can cobble together something offensively.

Players to Watch

QB Terry Wilson - 6-foot-3, 203-pounds

After going down with a season-ending injury just two games into the 2019 season, Kentucky turned to Bowden for a, forgive me, wildcat-type offense (editor’s note: something was done here). They missed Wilson’s playmaking and deep-threat ability. In 2018, Wilson threw for 1,889 yards and 11 touchdowns, while rushing for 768 yards and scoring four more on the ground.

Alas, what could’ve been had Wilson had another full season with Lynn Bowden Jr.! It’s his team now, and Mark Stoops likes what he has on offensive—returning his top 4 running backs, as well as all but two players who caught a pass in the 2019 campaign, including 6-foot-6, 266-pound tight end Justin Rigg.

C Drake Jackson - 6-foot-2, 310-pounds

It starts up front for Kentucky with honorable All-SEC senior Drake Jackson. He’s made 33 career starts, all at center, and lead the team in both fewest blown run and pass blocks. The Cats return a talented offensive front, with 84 career starts spread across four returning starters.

And they’re big— left tackle Landon Young is 6-foot-7, 321-pounds, Darian Kinnard on the right side is 6-foot-5, 347-pounds and right guard Luke Fortner is 6-foot-6, 305-pounds. That’s a whole lot of groceries, folks.

CB Brandin Echols - 5-foot-11, 178-pounds

The senior had 48.5 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack, nine passes broken up, two forced fumbles, and a pair of run stuffs. Echols did a little bit of everything in his 2019 season, and was 2nd in quarterback pressures from the secondary. He headlines a talented group that returns seven of eight players from the two-deep

He’s got some hops, too.

Two Numbers to Remember

100 percent of the Wildcats running back yards as well as 81 percent of the teams receptions are back, but just 52 percent of their sacks provided by defensive lineman will be on the roster this year.

Season hinges on

September 26th at Auburn

October 17th at Tennessee

November 28th at Florida