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Week One Positional Grades: Offense

There was a lot of good and bad to take away from Kentucky's 37-13 win over Miami (OH) on Saturday, more specifically on offense. Kentucky put up 37 points, but 20 of those points came on either a score on special teams or excellent field position setup by the defense and special teams. Will Levis put up over 300 yards, but he called it his worst 300-yard performance. There was a lot to like, but there are also some areas of concern. Lets break things down position-by-position.

Quarterback: B+

Despite being under duress for a lot of the evening, Will Levis still managed to put together a very solid performance through the air. The Penn State transfer threw for over 300 yards and had three passing touchdowns. There were a few mistakes for Levis throughout the night, including the interception thrown at the goal line in what should have been a touchdown catch for Keaton Upshaw. There were a few other circumstances where Levis put a lot of heat on the ball when it was not necessary. With that, it was still a very promising opening performance for the Kentucky quarterback. Deuce Hogan also had a very impressive kneel down to end the game.

Running Backs: C-

It was clear on Saturday that Kentucky desperately missed Chris Rodriguez. The Wildcats only totaled 50 rushing yards for the game, or 68 if you want to omit sack yardage. Eiether way, Saturday's performance by the running backs were not the standard of excellence that we have become so accustomed to by the likes of Benny Snell and Chris Rodriguez. This group of backs simply do not have the ability to keep going after contact quite like what we have seen in recent years. It was not all gloom and doom, as Lavell Wright showed flashes in the limited touches he got against Miami. He was a strong runner and played well in pass protection which are both things this offense will be needing this weekend in Gainesville.

Wide Receivers: A-

The highly touted duo of Dane Key and Barion Brown made their presence known, as each of the true freshman found the endzone in their debuts. Meanwhile, college football veteran and Virginia Tech transfer, Tayvion Robinson, impressed with a 6 catches and136 receiving yards, with 103 of those yards coming after the catch. This showed his athleticism and versatility. Meanwhile, Chauncey Magwood caught a touchdown for the first time in his career and Demarcus Harris made an impressive catch on a tipped ball on the last possession of the first half. It was a healthy mix of age and youth showing really good things and the Big Blue Nation should be thrilled with what they saw on Saturday. Other than a few mistakes in blocking, this group played a nearly perfect game.

Tight Ends: B

You can make the argument that the tight end corps was the most talked about leading into the season. What we already knew about Brendan Bates, Keaton Upshaw and Izayah Cummings, coupled with the hype around Jordan Dingle, provided a lot of hope that this would be the year the tight ends were featured more in the offense. It was clear that Kentucky was trying to include the tight ends on Saturday. That group should have had three touchdowns for the night, but only ended with one to Brendan Bates. The other two opportunities were a mixture of fault between the tight ends and Will Levis. Jordan Dingle got involved in the tight end screen game, in which the fans got to see why the expectations for the true freshman are so big. He's nimble on his feet for such a big body. This group is also being tasked with helping to block with an offensive line that is still finding its way. Overall, the tight ends held up fairly well for most of the night.

Offensive Line: D

There's an old saying that says "save the best for last." I am not doing that here. It is no secret that the offensive line struggled. Will Levis was sacked four times, three of which came on third down in obvious passing situations. 50 rushing yards in one game is also something we are not used to seeing on a Mark Stoops coached team. The inexperience was obvious, as anytime Miami did anything exotic in their rush, it resulted in bad situations for Will Levis and the running backs. Communication is key on the offensive line and it was clear that this group was still not used to each other. Stoops and the staff have made the decision to take the "best five players" approach which will send Kenneth Horsey to left tackle and David Wohlabaugh back to right tackle behind Jeremy Flax. Jager Burton will remain the starter at left guard with John Young backing him up. For Kentucky to upset the now 12th ranked Gators on the road on Saturday, this retooled offensive line will have to learn to play together very quickly.

Kentucky's performance on Saturday was enough to pull away from Miami this past weekend. However, it is reasonable to worry that a similar outing this weekend would likely spell doom for the Wildcats. If Kentucky wants to be victorious on Saturday against the Gators, the position average likely needs to be in the A-B range. With a banged up running back room and a retooled offensive line, it will be a huge test to see if Kentucky can overcome the adversity on the offensive end.


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