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Kentucky has to remedy more than quarterback play when it hosts Arkansas

Kentucky’s offensive line hopes to get back to where the Cats can have a better rushing attack against Arkansas. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky obviously has to figure how to get more effective quarterback play before it hosts Arkansas on Oct. 12.

Kentucky has lost three straight games since starting quarterback Terry Wilson went out with a season-ending knee injury and now backup Sawyer Smith is so beat up that he’s not even scheduled to throw a pass all week.

However, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops knows losses the last two weeks to Mississippi State and South Carolina were about more than just poor quarterback play.

“We didn’t run the ball as effective as well,” Stoops said about last week’s loss at South Carolina. “Again I think we are getting away from that too quick.

“Early one play they really got after us up front and it spooks you because we lost three yards on a first down run. O-line settled in and blocked some things really well. But you feel like it is getting away from you quickly because we are not playing the way we want to play.

“Defensively we have to get some stops early. They get a long drive (and score), we throw an interception. We have been behind three games in a row early. We can’t do that.

“Right now with the injuries we have we are not as explosive as we were. We have to get back to playing winning formula football and that’s playing good defense and the offense getting balanced.”

Kentucky fans have criticized the offensive line, expected to be a team strength this year, for its recent play. Stoops admitted there “were a couple” of plays from last week where that criticism was fair.

“One (player) in particular got beat at right tackle that looked bad. Darian (Kinnard) had been doing a good job and get beat on one rush pretty bad. A few others … and that a fair criticism. Coach Schlarm (offensive line coach John Schlarman) was not happy and the players are not either.”

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  1. Yep, offense, defense, and special teams all have to step up, but they can’t do so without our coaches doing so first. Its been a while since a single game has been this important. Lets hope we can rise to the occasion.

  2. I’ll say! Let’s be honest, the Oline just got whipped at South Carolina. The Dline too. It all starts right there. I love Duffy, and he is a weapon, but it does not bode well when your punter is the star of the game. Third down efficiency has been a disaster.

    I’m predicting right now that Stoops/Gran will have Bowden at QB against the Razorbacks since he has been sitting in the QB room of late. If that happens, I hope the Oline comes to play, and arrives on the field against Ark in a” bad mood,” protecting their QB, and opening holes for the backs. That may be the best solution, but it comes with some risks. Get Bowden, UK’s big weapon, injured and out, and UK will be in a real fix then.

  3. Bowden is our best chance to win until Sawyer gets healthy, but if Bowden goes down, so does our season.

  4. Our season has already gone down. Am currently watching UL and BC. UL looks way ahead of where they were last year. Could Stoops have taken that train wreck and turned around in 5 games? UL would beat us now the way we are both playing.

  5. Why is everybody worrying about Bowen may get hurt playing the qb position. Ain’t no difference of him getting hurt the other positions he has play part of football.

    1. Good question Cts79, I say because Gran will use him in the “wildcat” a lot, and because the pressure teams seem to be getting on UK QB’s of late. You are right, he is subject to injury at the WR spot, but as the UK QB he will be handling the ball on every down. He will be taking more hits, and from all over the field. Teams will scheme to stop Bowden in the run game. Who steps up to fill his WR spot. He is half the offense there.

      Hey, it might work, but if he does go down, then what? If he is the QB, he might tear it up. I hope so. Now do they use Bowden to return punts, probably not.

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