The beginning of the week calls for some good ole fashioned pessimism. Talking season cannot always be rainbows and butterflies. There are some worries surrounding this iteration of Kentucky football. Lets start with Liam Coen's group.
No Workhorse Running Back
For the past six years, Kentucky has had the luxury of having their star running back be an absolute workhorse of a player. Big Blue Nation and the coaching staff have been spoiled with Benny Snell and Chris Rodriguez for a long time going back. With that era in the books, the Wildcats move to a running back committee rather than a guy who carries the team on his back.
There are some positives to this, such as the fact that there is more depth now than in years past. With that, there is not a sure-fire star in this group. When the ball was handed to Snell and Rodriguez, there was a great chance the sticks would be moved in the right direction. With the current group, there is not a guy who is going to move the pile like what we are used to seeing. This is going to require some innovation from Liam Coen and we should see some things that we are not used to as viewers of Kentucky football.
The demise of the 2022 season remains the biggest question mark for the upcoming year. Despite his 49ers' running mate getting canned after one year in Lexington, Zach Yenser returns for his second season as the offensive line coach. Yenser is the second offensive line coach at Kentucky since the tragic passing of John Schlarman. He will be looking to give an edge to this unit that Schlarman once did.
The names on this o-line will be familiar, but their positions will be different. After starting at center last year, Eli Cox will move back to his natural right guard position where he was a midseason All-American in 2021. Super senior Kenneth Horsey moves back to left guard after becoming the emergency left tackle in 2022. In the middle, Jager Burton prepares for the move to center, a change that has seemed to get off to a decent start from what coaches and players are saying. Meanwhile, you have Northern Illinois transfer Marques Cox and USC transfer Courtland Ford as the ones most likely to start at left and right tackle. Cox was a highly esteemed left tackle at Northern Illinois while Ford is more of a raw talent.
There is definitely hope with this group, but I would remain cautious about your expectations for the moment.