Monday, May 31, 2010

Preview UL Cardinals Game #1

Over the next several days, we will look at each of UK's opponents for the 2010 season in order to get a handle on what kind of season that the CATS might expect this year.

Both the University of Kentucky Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals start off the season with new coaches and looking to establish the first punch of what looks to be a hotly contested rival for the foreseeable future. This initial meeting will not only see 2 new coaches facing each other (Joker Phillips at UK, and Charlie Strong at UL), but minority coaches who deserve a shot at success/failure as much as anyone.

On Offense, the Cards ranked 119th last season which would lead one to assume that the only place to go is up. UL has 5 starting O-linemen returning, as well as numerous offensive threats such as Doug Beaumont, Josh Chichester, Victor Anderson, and Bilal Powell. V Anderson has stated that he is switching positions to slot receiver, but then again, he is one for pranks, so the joke could be on us either way. The addition of Michaellee Harris should add much needed depth to the WR corps, but he is a true freshman and it will take a while for him to get acclimated to the game.

The quarterback quandry at UL is much the same as at UK IE no one has really established themselves as the unquestioned starter. At this time, look for Adam Frohman to lead the spread option for the Birds.

Four starters return on a defense that seemingly lacks talent and depth. The Dline returns Gregg Scruggs who is maybe their best player returning on defense. The Birds also add DeAntre Rhodes (DT, JUCO Player) to the mix which will help strengthen one of the weakest areas on the team (behind the DBs). In all, Strong inherits the return of 6 sacks from a team that generated a total of 25 for the 09 season, so he needs to find playmakers in the front 4 immediately.

Also returning are linebackers Brandon Heath and Antwon Canaday which means that the linebacking corps is probably the strength of the defense.

The secondary returns only one starter Johnny Patrick. Again, talent and depth in the defensive backfield seems to be lacking and missing. Any number of injuries to the team would be devestating and make for an extremely long season in "The Ville".

The Cardinals did add by not only gaining Charlie Strong, but also by getting rid of Steve Kragthorp (the players hated him, the admin hated him, and the fans hated him). Bottomline is that they are a much better team, will play harder, will be tougher, and better than they were in the 09 season.

If UK commits 3 turnovers, on successive drives this year like they did last year, they will not win. For one, I look forward to the next several years as this game could come to be one of the premier games for week 1 of the college season. It seems as though dominanace for the game will go out the window and that both teams are now headed in the right direction, only UK has been at it a little longer. The winner of this game will set the tone for the rest of their season while the loser will have to work quickly in order to right the ship for the upcoming campaign.

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