Evaluating Kentucky's returning talent on offense from last season
It’s been said many, many times before, but Kentucky’s football season last year was downright bad.
The proof is in the pudding, and it says the Cats’ offense is at fault. In evaluating the players returning on offense from last year’s team, it is obvious how far behind the rest of the SEC the Cats really are.
Just look at the numbers:
The team’s leading passer last season, Maxwell Smith, was 12th in the 14-team league in passing yards with just 1,276 yards. He has since had offseason shoulder surgery on his throwing arm and could be replaced under center by one of three other quarterbacks, all of whom have far fewer passing yards for their careers than Smith.
It gets worse.
The team’s leading rusher in 2013, Jojo Kemp, finished 30th in the SEC in rushing with just 482 yards in 2013. To add context to this stat, 11 of the other 13 teams in the conference had multiple players exceed Kemp’s 482 yards last season.
The team’s leading receiver, Javess Blue, was just 19th in the conference with 586 receiving yards, and no other player on last year’s Kentucky team cracked the top-40 in receiving.
As a result, Kentucky finished the year ranked in the bottom-two in the SEC in total offense, rushing offense and scoring offense, sharing the basement each time with Florida, which experienced what many consider its worst season in 30 years.
Needless to say, there is room for improvement on offense.
To be fair, the team was in its first year under a new coaching staff, and most of the offense was trying to transition from Joker Phillips’ conservative play-calling to Neal Brown’s Air Raid offense, and Kentucky does return most of its talent on offense from a year ago.
But unless those same players experience a night-and-day transformation in Brown’s offense, or Kentucky has a freshman work his way onto the Heisman watch list, it seems unlikely the Cats will be able to ascend out of the bottom-half of the SEC in many major statistical categories.