High level of preseason optimism justified by the Cats

A 42-0 rout of an outmanned Miami team doesn’t tell us everything we need to know about how good this Kentucky football team can be.  But there were definitely some very positive signs.

Yes, Mike Hartline is an improved quarterback.

Yes, there are playmakers and wide receiver that were not there last year.

If the defense is as good as or better than last season–as I think it is–then those two facts above are very strong reasons to think Rich Brooks’ high level of preseason optimism was justified.

When it comes to listing concerns, one has to start with the kickoffs.  The coverage was outstanding against Miami but the return men the Cats are going to face in the weeks ahead–starting with Louisville’s Trent Guy–are in a whole other league. 

There’s no reason to think the legs of Lones Seiber or Ryan Tydlacka are suddenly going to get stronger, so kickoffs are going to be a “hold your breath” moment all season long.  On his radio show last night, Brooks suggested that if the hang time on kickoffs doesn’t improve, UK will have to look at more creative ways to achieve its goals with this unit.

Other than kickoffs, the defensive ends didn’t get a lot done, but you can cut them some slack for being first-time starters.  And the offensive line didn’t get enough of a test to know just how good it can be.

But all in all, it was a very encouraging first step for this Kentucky team.

To follow my daily coverage of the Cats, go to:  http://tomleachky.com/

-Tom Leach

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