By LARRY VAUGHT
South Carolina coach Will Muschamp certainly said nothing but complimentary things about Kentucky at his weekly press conference today going into Saturday night’s game in Lexington against the unbeaten Wildcats.
“They’ve got an outstanding football team. There’s a reason they are where they are. They’re a very athletic football team. They’ve got a lot of length at multiple positions,” said Muschamp. “They’ve got very good team speed. They’re physical on both lines of scrimmage. Mark (Stoops) and his staff have done a good job recruiting with him going into his sixth year there at Kentucky.”
What about the UK defense that held Mississippi State to just one touchdown in last week’s 28-7 win?
“Defensively, they’re second in our league in total defense. They’re third in scoring. (They’re) very active. They play the way you are supposed to play,” Muschamp said. “They’ve got eight senior starters, so they’re very experienced. They’re very active at the linebacker position, especially Jordan Jones. He’s a very instinctive player, and I think Josh Allen is probably an elite rusher, one of the better rushers in our league and certainly the country.
“They’ve got a lot of guys who can make a difference. They get their hands on a lot of balls in the secondary, a lot of length – 6-2, 6-3 plus – and they run extremely well. They’ve recruited extremely well on that side of the ball.”
What about that Benny Snell led offense?
“They lead our league with 270 yards rushing (per game). Obviously, Benny Snell is an outstanding back. He runs violent, runs tough. (He’s) competitive (and) runs the way you’re supposed to run. I really respect him,” Muschamp said. “Big, physical offensive line. They do a good job getting a hat on a hat in the run game and in protections. (A.J.) Rose and (Sihiem) King are really good running backs that back (Snell) up.
“Terry Wilson has been a very good addition for them (at quarterback). He signed with Oregon out of high school and then went to junior college for a year. He’s completing right at 67 percent of his passes. He can really run. He’s a very athletic guy, so we’ve got to do a good job with pass rush lanes and being disciplined on all of the zone reads and different looks they give you.
“(C.J.) Conrad is an outstanding tight end, and Lynn Bowden, who’s got 20 receptions on the year, is a really explosive guy on the perimeter. They’ll use him a lot of different ways.”
The South Carolina coach said UK is aggressive on special team and has “really recruited to good team speed” that shows on special teams.
“They’ve got a good football team. We’ve got our work cut out for us,” he said.