Breaking Bad: Cats turn over new leaf

Kory Brown and teammate J.D. Harmon at UK Football Media Day on Friday, August 3, 2012. Photo by Mike Weaver| Staff

By Cody Porter
cporter@kykernel.com

Turnovers, turnovers, and yes, more turnovers. No, we aren’t talking Arby’s here.

UK football head coach Joker Phillips has stressed since the beginning of the season how important a lack of turnovers is for his squad.

As of last week’s update by NCAA stat keepers, the Cats rank toward the top with their amount of turnovers lost.

Saturday’s 33-10 loss to Missouri resulted in three additional fumbles, not including the other three the Cats were able to regain control of.

For the second consecutive week, offensive coordinator Randy Sanders’ unit showed early signs of life before transforming back into one of the program’s most inept offenses in history.

The 33 points posted by the Tigers were, for the most part, thanks to the Cats’ offense giving them assistance.

Since that was the case — again — this edition of Breaking Bad will highlight areas of the UK football team that were the most successful in looking the part.

1. Secondary
Although they may have been a benefactor of an inexperienced quarterback, the Cats’ young secondary finally looked respectable after weeks of facing tough opponents.

Between freshman back-up quarterback Corbin Berkstresser and junior James Franklin, who entered in the second half despite injury, the Tigers were held to 87 passing yards on 16-27 passing.

Freshman cornerback J.D. Harmon nabbed interceptions on back-to-back Missouri possessions. Those two picks were double the amount the Cats had previously stolen away from their opponent on the season.

Harmon went on to finish the game with seven total tackles, which was second most for the team in the loss.

2. Special Teams
Freshman punter Landon Foster continues to fill the shoes of past UK punters Tim Masthay and Ryan Tydlacka.

Despite having his back against the wall on numerous occasions, Foster didn’t fret, giving the ball a great boot.

However, his problem was that his great punts still managed to place the Tigers near the 50-yard line.

Foster’s seven punts averaged close to 40 yards per kick, including a long of 52 yards.

On the other end of those punts was sophomore speedster Marcus Murphy. Through four punt returns, Murphy only gained five yards.

3. Linebackers
The departure of Danny Trevathan and Winston Guy on the defensive side of the ball has been heavily felt. I’m sure defensive coordinator Rick Minter will tell you this without any hesitation.

Through the team’s ninth game, junior linebacker Avery Williamson has appeared to step into role of defensive leader.

Saturday he continued to fill that role with his career-high tying 14 total tackles against the Tigers and first collegiate sack.

Sophomore linebacker Alvin Dupree tied Harmon with seven tackles in the game, in addition to a pass breakup.

Sophomore Malcolm McDuffen and freshman Khalid Henderson also aided the defensive effort for the linebackers with a combined four tackles. But, it was a fumble recovery by McDuffen that could’ve helped swing momentum if the offense could’ve continued its upswing early in the game.