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September 10, 2010

Across The Field: Kentucky

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Inside Hilltopper Sports will be visiting with WKU's upcoming opponent's beat writer each week to give our reader's more insight on the game. This week, IHS caught up with CatsPause.com senior writer Matt May for his thoughts on the Wildcats.


What are some things to look for on offense and defense from Kentucky?

Kentucky's goal on offense is to be balanced. Look for them to try and establish the run and then pass off what they can do in the run game. Defensively, they play a lot of man-to-man but they don't bring a lot of extra pressure on third down, which is a real sticking point with fans.


How does QB Mike Hartline look improvement-wise this year?

Against Louisville, Hartline looked like the guy who was playing his best football at South Carolina last season before tearing his knee up. He moved well enough, found open receivers, handled audibles and did just bout everything right.


What is it that makes Randall Cobb so special?

Coach Joker Phillips always says Cobb has 'it', but no one can really verbalize what that means. That's when you know a kid is a special player. He can do so many things and he's the Pied Piper of the Kentucky football team.


After the offensive outburst against Louisville, is that a sign
that more big things are ahead offensively?


No disrespect to Louisville (or Western Kentucky and Akron for that matter) but I don't know that you're going to get an accurate read on how improved (or not) the Wildcats' offense is until they get into SEC play. Sure, they looked great against Louisville but I'm not sure the Cardinals' defense is all that good.


Was UK not turning the ball over a result of just clicking offensively?

I really don't think so. Kentucky has not been a team that's turned the football over much the past two seasons (20 in 13 games last season, 21 in 13 games the year before) and have been successful because of it. For the most part, they aren't going to beat themselves with unforced errors.


What's been the biggest change defensively with only six starters
returning this season?


The defense has a lot more speed this season but is relatively inexperienced. Young guys like safety Mychal Bailey, corner Martavius Neloms, linebackers Qua Huzzie and Ridge Wilson, defensive tackle Donte Rumph, are all still figuring out what to do all the time so I think they've simplified things just a hair.


What's the biggest strength of the defense?

I'm not sure that any particular position group is light years better than any other but one thing the unit does is fly around and chase the football. The effort level is always outstanding, so you're not going to catch them falling asleep at the wheel.


What's the biggest area of concern overall for the Cats?

UK has really struggled to get pressure on the quarterback the past two seasons, one of the main reasons why opponents have had so much success of third-and-forever. They just don't seem to get pressure with a basic four-man rush.


What's a reasonable expectation for UK this fall?

The schedule sets up really well for the Cats but I still think the 2011 season is when they could take a major step forward. Too much youth and inexperience this season to expect much more than about what they've been during this four-year bowl run.


UK is a big favorite in this game, are the Wildcats overlooking WKU at all?

You never know until the teams hit the field but UK is saying and doing all the right things leading up to game. Word is the practices have been very sharp and they're aware of what happened to Ole Miss and Kansas in week one. I don't see a letdown happening.


InsideHillltopperSports.com would like to think CatsPause.com senior writer Matt May for taking time to help us dissect our week two opponent a little better. After the game, catch InsideHilltopperSports.com's extensive post-game, with a full game wrap and audio from coach Willie Taggart




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