By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky’s offense is not having problems because defenses have changed their approach to stopping the Cats.
“They’ve been loading the box from now to the beginning of the year. That really shouldn’t matter to me. Me, and how I think of my O-Line, I don’t care if the best defense in the nation lines up and loads the box. If the linemen can do what they do with their guys, then get to the second level, it’s unstoppable,” Kentucky running back Benny Snell said after Saturday’s 24-7 loss at Tennessee.
“It matters about coming off and being the more physical team up front, hands down. If the run game’s not there, here and there at times, that’s a team thing. You put that blame on me. You put that blame on my line. All we can do is go forward from tonight.”
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops knows his team has to become more physical after the letdown at Tennessee when it got shoved around. The same thing happened a week earlier in a loss to Georgia. But he also understands the execution has to dramatically improve against Middle Tennessee Saturday.
“There’s a lot of things that go into this. One, you’re not going to play very good football when it’s like one person here and one person there or just little things. That we can’t do. We’re at our best, you’ve seen us this year and part of our recipe to win a bunch of games, is we have to make long drives. In our victories throughout the season, we’ve had 12-13 play drives because we’re not overly explosive, but you have to be very good and you have to be very precise, and you can’t have a missed assignment here, a missed assignment there,” Stoops said.
“Again, you go down through it and you talk about efficiency and being physical and it looks that way, it certainly felt that way to me also, but you look at it and 17 of the 27 runs that we ran the ball, we were very efficient on, or we hit our efficiency mark of four yards or more. But when you miss a 3rd and 1, that kills you, that kills a drive right there. Later we have a good drive put together, one of our longer drives and we drop it, dropped the snap. Those are things that we can’t overcome.”