Ranking Kentucky's position groups in 2014
Here’s how Kentucky’s roster ranked by position groups.
Defensive Backs: Kentucky ranked No. 44 overall in passing yards allowed, averaging 215.8 yards per game. A.J. Stamps and Marcus McWilson were a crucial part of the Wildcats’ success in their secondary. Stamps (4) and McWilson (3) combined for seven interceptions, including a 36-yard pick-6 by McWilson against Louisiana-Monroe. Stamps was fifth on the team in tackling with 56. Kentucky’s best secondary performance came against Vanderbilt in Week 5. The Wildcats held the Commodores to 85 passing yards and forced three interceptions. Kentucky’s worst performance came in Week 14 against Louisville. The Cardinals recorded 389 yards and three touchdowns, despite having third-string quarterback Kyle Bolin under center for the majority of the game.
Linebackers: Josh Forrest finished third in the SEC with a team-best 110 tackles, averaging 9.8 per game. Forrest added 8.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Ryan Flanningan was second among linebackers with 57 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks. But Kentucky’s linebackers struggled against rushing attacks, allowing 191.6 yards per game, 20 touchdowns and a 4.5 average.
Defensive Line: Alvin “Bud” Dupree was the Wildcats’ best player, which shouldn’t have surprised anyone. Dupree had a team-best 7.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss, along with the second-highest total tackles (74). Despite missing a bowl game, the senior ended his stellar career with another impressive individual season, finishing with 247 tackles, 37 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks for his career. Za’Darius Smith added 60 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks to his season totals.
Special Teams: Freshman Austin MacGinnis had the most made field goals in the SEC (21) and ranked fifth in field goal percentage (77.8). Landon Foster ranked seventh in punting average (42.6) with 2,810 net yards. Boom Williams was fifth in kick return yards (511) and averaged 26.9 yards per return. Demarco Robinson was sixth in punt return yards (178) and averaged 7.4 per return.
Quarterbacks: Patrick Towles threw for 2,718 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions on 225-of-393 passing. Towles finished fifth in the SEC in passing yards and tenth in touchdowns. Towles saw a career high 390 yards against Mississippi State and led the Wildcats with 76 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. But the redshirt sophomore struggled down the stretch, throwing for less than 200 yards in five of Kentucky’s last six games. As Towles struggled, the Wildcats offense followed suit, failing to provide consistent production during its losing streak.
Offensive Line: Kentucky’s offensive line ranked No. 104 in sacks allowed and No. 99 in tackles for loss allowed. The Wildcats offensive line played a crucial role in the team’s lack of success in rushing offense. Kentucky’s final depth chart included one starting senior, Darrian Miller, two juniors, a sophomore and a redshirt freshman. The line should gain experience next season and show improvement.
Running Backs: It took Kentucky nine games to realize that Stanley “Boom” Williams was the most talented running back on its roster. Williams led the Wildcats with 488 yards and five touchdowns, despite making his first start in Week 10. Williams had 75 carries, three more than Braylon Heard and five more than Jojo Kemp, who saw the majority of attempts in the beginning of the season. In his final game, Williams recorded a career-best 126 yards and two touchdowns against the nation’s No. 3 rushing defense. The Wildcats ranked No. 74 overall in rushing offense.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: Ryan Timmons led the Wildcats with 536 yards and two touchdowns on 45 receptions. Timmons saw a season-best 114 yards on five catches against Mississippi State. Javess Blue was second in receiving yards with 525 and five touchdowns on 29 receptions. Blue recorded more than 100 yards in two games (Louisiana-Monroe and Tennessee).