Lessons learned during Kentucky’s spring practice

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SDS will be looking at each SEC team’s spring practice and address concerns entering and exiting on both sides of the ball.

Overall

Continued momentum: Mark Stoops, his staff and the team have renewed optimism in Lexington, and fan interest is surging. The 50,000-plus crowd is crucial for the current team and its morale. It also creates a momentum that hopefully will carry over into the fall. The Wildcats’ goal is to notch six wins and a bowl berth. That may mean Mark Stoops is the Coach of the Year in the SEC, taking a two-win roster and doing what Hugh Freeze and James Franklin did. The momentum is great for the program and for recruiting. Now, we’ll see how far it helps take them next fall.

Offense

The QBs: Jalen Whitlow gives Kentucky the best chance to win now. To run the true Air Attack, it requires a bevy of depth at receiver, something that Kentucky just doesn’t have right now. So, offensive coordinator Neal Brown may have to get innovative and differentiate his desired offense for one that adds the most productivity. And Jalen Whitlow adds that extra playmaking ability with his legs over Max Smith and Patrick Towles.

RBs are deep: Another aspect that Brown will have to adapt to is his strengths. And one of the strongest units on the entire Wildcats’ team is the running backs. Led by seniors Raymond Sanders and Jonathan George, the running back corps is five deep. Backups Dyshawn Mobley and Josh Clemons have positioned themselves for playing time, while Justin Taylor has much work to do. Anyhow, Brown will cater to the strength of the running game, despite his previous year’s offense finishing last in the Big 12 in rushing.

Defense

Dynamic duo: Kentucky fans were already excited about Bud Dupree. The former linebacker turned defensive end should have a big season in 2013. Early enrollee and JUCO transfer Za’Darius Smith should create a very sexy one-two pass rush for the Wildcats defense. DJ Eliot’s defense should improve just by making Dupree play with his hand down and adding Smith on the other side. There are questions at linebacker and in the secondary, but the defensive line should be a stronger aspect of the overall team.

Photo Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

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