Breaking bad: 3 areas of improvement for week 5



By Cody Porter

The 48-10 final score from Saturday wasn’t a pretty one, but with the negatives also came some positives much to your surprise, I’m sure.

Turnovers may have gotten the best of them, but the no-huddle offense that was run around 80 percent of the time, according to offensive coordinator Randy Sanders, helped the Cats get into scoring territory on more than one occasion.

On the defensive side of the ball, it was the ability to stop the run early in the game that impressed me. With time, though, the Cats tired and Florida’s speed and strength won the battle in the trenches. Overall, their performance wasn’t nearly as bad as the numbers indicate due to the amount of time that they were required to be on the field.

With the No. 1 team in the country waiting to try and pounce on the Cats, there are still a few areas of concern that made a dramatic comeback against the Gators.

1. Offensive line

Against Florida, the Cats didn’t have as much of a problem containing the pass rush, but the Gators didn’t blitz to the magnitude of the Louisville Cardinals of the previous week. Whether that is the case or not, LSU is a team that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Simply put, the Tigers’ defense is a force. If the UK offensive line does a poor job of protecting Morgan Newton, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Big Blue Nation may see Max Smith getting thrown into Death Valley as fresh meat for the Tigers defense to prey on.

2. Butterfingers

If the ball isn’t caught by the receivers or securely tucked away, LSU will seize the opportunity to turn the mistake into a big play, possibly resulting in six points. After having a good outing against Louisville, everyone except La’Rod King returned to early season form on Saturday with a case of the butterfingers. There were fumbles lost and short passes dropped after being bobbled around for a few moments. I’m not one to talk as I struggle to catch passes when just playing around, but I would like to think that these players here on scholarship shouldn’t have that excuse. In adding to my earlier statement, even the simplest of drops can be turned into a touchdown with the type of playmakers that the LSU defense has on the field.

3. Passing

Oct. 13, 2007, was a monumental day in the history of UK football. This was the day the Cats knocked off No. 1 LSU. The starting quarterback that day for UK was Andre Woodson, who, despite his two early interceptions, was able to rebound and lead the Cats back. For the Cats to replicate that day, they need for Morgan Newton to show flashes of his mentor.

On Saturday, against West Virginia, LSU gave up more than 400 yards of passing to the Mountaineers’ Geno Smith, showing that there is an aspect of the Tigers’ defense that is vulnerable. If the inability to catch the ball can become a thing of the past, Morgan Newton in the no-huddle can look like a quarterback that the fan base has yet to see this year and is probably what will be required to escape Death Valley with a win.