The college football season is approaching. Each SEC team will be previewed before the season. Here is the 2022 SEC Football Preview: Kentucky Wildcats.
2021 Record: 10-3 (5-3), 2nd in West
W vs Iowa in Citrus Bowl
Kentucky had a terrific season in 2021. Mark Stoops hit the 10-win mark for the second time in his career and the fourth time in Kentucky’s history. It was just the 13th time the Wildcats had a winning record in conference play – the second under Stoops – and was good for the highest finish in the SEC since 1977.
While many of the games were close they count as a win just the same. After breaking a 30+ year losing streak to Florida in 2018 the Wildcats were able to win again last year at home. They also had nice wins against LSU and rival Louisville. And capping it off with a win against an Iowa team that was ranked as high as No.2 put a nice bow on a great season.
Questions on Offense
Kentucky lost a lot from last year’s offense that came in at eighth in total offense in the SEC last season. They’ve got some big holes to fill on the offensive line with the departure of three NFL-level tackles. That’ll need to be addressed to allow 2nd Team All-SEC running back Christian Rodriguez – who’s expected to miss the first few games – to continue smashing the ball.
Kentucky’s passing game finished 10th in the conference and they’ll be without star wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson. Robinson caught a staggering 43% of the throws last season. Quarterback Will Levis will need to limit turnovers and adjust to not having his biggest target.
Can Defense Rise to the Call
Kentucky lost some big names from last year but return veterans in Jacquez Jones, DeAndre Square and Tyrell Ajian. All three are using their 5th year. Jones led the team in tackles last season while fellow linebacker J.J. Weaver returns after leading the team in sacks.
The defensive line lost some big names. Fortunately for Kentucky fans that’s a position Stoops has recruited very well. Some rising upper classmen will need to make leaps from last year. Guys like Justin Rogers, Octavious Oxendine and Josaih Hayes will need to rise to the occasion.
There are a lot of questions on both sides of the ball but the Wildcats are ranked No.20 in the preseason for a reason. Mark Stoops has a knack for putting together overachieving teams despite expectations. They’ll be tested early on with road games at Florida and Ole Miss in the first month of the season.
“From Our Haus to Yours”