Previewing Kentucky’s Offensive and Defensive Lines
Hello everyone and welcome back to Last Word on College Football. We are only a couple of weeks away from the beginning of the 2017 season. Continuing on with our look at the Wildcats team, today the focus will be Previewing Kentucky’s Offensive and Defensive Lines.
If you missed the first two installments of the series you can check them out here:
A Big Hole to Fill In the Middle
In 2016, the Cats rushed for 3,094 yards, second most in school history. Kentucky returns a lot of experience up front but they do have a big hole to fill. Jon Toth, a second team All-SEC pick graduated after playing in 49 games, starting the last 48.
Jervontius “Bunchy” Stallings moves over from guard to center for the 2017 season. Stallings started eight games at guard in 2016. Behind him is redshirt freshman Drake Jackson, a local standout from Woodford County.
The Wildcat offensive line took a huge hit on Monday with the news left tackle Cole Mosier was lost for the year. The senior injured his right knee on Saturday and an MRI revealed a torn ACL.
It was extremely hard for me to hear I tore my ACL in the scrimmage… https://t.co/O6jQU7f7X3
— Cole Mosier (@ColeMosier71) August 14, 2017
With Mosier out, Landon Young moves up the depth chart to left tackle. The former five star recruit from Lexington started three games in 2016 when Mosier was injured.
All-SEC freshman Logan Stenberg gets the starting nod at left guard. Senior Nick Haynes moves over from left guard to right guard for the 2017 season. While Haynes is already one of the Wildcats best linemen, he has made headlines this fall with his battle with diabetes.
Nick Haynes' mom on Kentucky offensive lineman, who battles diabetes: “He just has it. It’s not who he is." https://t.co/IROjd7zzK7
— Jen Smith (@jenheraldleader) August 8, 2017
Another senior Kyle Meadows holds down the other tackle position with junior George Asafo-Adjei as a back-up for a number of offensive line positions.
The Biggest Question Mark On The Squad
As we continue Previewing Kentucky’s Offensive and Defensive Lines, we move to the other side of the ball. While Kentucky has a lot of depth on the offensive line, the other side of the ball is the biggest concern heading into 2017.
Kentucky has a new defensive line coach in Derrick LeBlanc, replacing Jimmy Brumbaugh who took a similar job at Maryland. LeBlanc comes to Lexington after holding the same position with North Texas a season ago. So far, the reviews have been good with his handling of the line.
The Cats will have to make big improvements in their run defense. A season ago Kentucky gave up 228 yards rushing per game, twelfth in the SEC and only had 21 sacks. In addition LeBlanc’s troops will have to replace Alvonte Bell, a starter from last season who was dismissed from team over the summer. Bell made 27 tackles in 12 games last season.
Kentucky runs mainly a 3-4 defense but occasionally switches to a 4-3. Sophomore T.J. Carter is number one on the depth chart at the defensive end position with junior Kengera Daniel as his backup.
Senior Naquez Pringle holds down the nose tackle position with Matt Elam as his backup. Pringle had a career high six tackles in the Taxslayer Bowl loss to Georgia Tech.
Elam, of course, made headlines during the summer when SEC Network’s Greg McElroy ripped Elam for being a disappointment. The Big Blue Nation hopes this lights a fire under the former five star recruit.
Adrian Middleton is listed as the starter at the defensive tackle position while redshirt freshman Kordell Looney is his backup. When the Cats do switch to the 4-3, that allows All-SEC linebacker Denzil Ware to line up at defensive end. We will talk a lot more about the Ware in the next edition.
Two Impact Newcomers
Heading into the season, two newcomers have made quite the impression on the coaching staff. The first is Quinton Bohanna, a defensive tackle out of Tennessee. Rated as the 45th best tackle in the 2017 recruiting class, Bohanna is getting time with the second team defense.
In addition to Bohanna, another player, LeBlanc, is counting on to provide help is Phil Hoskins. The three star recruit came to Kentucky as one of the top junior college players from Ohio. However, True Blue Fans are going to have to wait a little longer to see him on the field as he is recovering from shoulder surgery. As a result, Stoops thinks he may miss the first quarter of the season.
Thanks for checking out this post Previewing Kentucky’s Offensive and Defensive Lines here at Last Word on College Football. The next edition looks at arguable the two best positions on the field for the Cats linebackers and secondary.