Win or lose, the Cats’ questions will be answered

Column by J.D. Williams

People have been asking about these Cats.

Can they go bowling again?

Will they beat Louisiana State, Florida or another Southeastern Conference powerhouse?

Is Woodson the real deal?

Usually, when I hear such questions, I shrug my shoulders, pull out the old lucky quarter and in return ask them a question — heads or tails?

Really, their guess is as good as mine.

But one thing is for sure: The Cats have to deal with Louisville before Florida or LSU come rolling into Commonwealth Stadium.

And although the answers to the rest of those mind-boggling questions are still up in the air, it’s obvious that UK’s more equipped this year to make believers out of former doubters.

The sports world has been anticipating this year’s battle for the Governor’s Cup and for good reason. The quarterback showdown between Louisville’s Brian Brohm and UK’s Andre Woodson has sparked interest in fans as well as scouts for the next level.

But Brohm and Woodson weren’t the only ones getting attention.

To start the season, UK had five preseason All-SEC selections at five different positions.

A fairly good spread of talent, but just not good enough with the absence of representatives from along the line of scrimmage.

With all the hoopla surrounding the men under center, a shadow has moved over the real factor in tomorrow’s game. The deciding positions will be the centers responsible for getting the ball to the quarterback, and their fellow linemen.

News flash folks, this one is going to be won in the trenches.

It’s where the real football players play and the big boys roam. The 260 pound-plus club, where getting clobbered is a hobby, and being the supporter of a ten body pile up at the goal line is a way of life.

Yes, the trenches is where the Cats’ fate will be decided, and that’s one area that has a question mark of its own.

In the Cats’ two junior varsity games to start the season against Eastern Kentucky and Kent State, UK recorded a combined four sacks. But Woodson was on the receiving end of six sacks against sub-par opponents.

As for UK’s intrastate rival, the Cards’ defense has only recorded one sack this season. That’s definitely not going to scare the Cats, but here’s a number that will — 0. That’s the number of sacks an impressive Louisville offensive line has surrendered this season.

U of L’s offensive line has three All-Big East selections, including junior tackle George Bussey, who hasn’t let Brohm hit the ground on his watch since being inserted into the starting lineup 15 games ago.

That causes a concern for the Cats tomorrow because whichever team’s big guys up front can keep their offense on the field and eating up clock will feast on the opponent.

Neither defense is great. Although linebacker Wesley Woodyard provides an occasional spark for the Cats, he is far and few between on that side of the ball in UK’s lackluster defense.

With Louisville’s reputation as a well-oiled-high-flying machine on offense, the best defense for the Cats is Woodson and keeping him and the offense on the field. To do that, the O-line will have to answer the call.

Asst. sports editor J.D. Williams is a journalism senior. His columns run on Fridays. E-mail [email protected]