SI previews UK football

College football season previews are coming out, and Sports Illustrated took its own look at UK.

The main focus for the preview was how Joker Phillips isn’t content with a sixth straight bowl game but instead wants to be considered one of the SEC’s elite. To do that, of course, Morgan Newton — who SI says was complacent last year — will have to take command of the offense and follow in Andre Woodson’s cleat marks by making a noticeable jump in productivity in his junior year.

Phillips mentioned that because there is no dominant team in the SEC East, and because UK played multiple close games against the top competition, the team is close to making the leap. “The thing we need to be able to do is play with confidence and finish games,” Phillips said.

Phillips also talked about the necessity of a different style of defense (“I just don’t think we can stand toe-to-toe and play base defense with the people we have,”) having to replace Randall Cobb (“No one can,”), and the importance of a solid offensive line to an offense with inexperienced skill players.

SI named wide receiver Brian Adams, running back Raymond Sanders, defensive end Collins Ukwu and guard Larry Warford as the key returnees, linebacker Ridge Wilson the breakout player because the scheme change benefits his style of play, and defensive back Glenn Faulkner as the top recruit.

SI also named its preseason All-SEC team. The results were similar to how the coaches’ team turned out, with offensive guard Larry Warford and linebacker Danny Trevathan earning first-team honors.