Norfolk State at Kentucky Preview

Nathan TowlesCorrespondent ISeptember 3, 2008

With the University of Kentucky football team getting ready for the first home game, here is a list of the projected starters for Norfolk State.

Norfolk State Offense Depth Chart

  • QB- Dennis Brown (6-3, 202, Jr.)
  • RB- DeAngelo Branche (5-11, 200, So.)
  • FB- Tommy Moore (5-11, 250, So.)
  • WR- Jamar Johnson (6-4, 220, Sr.)
  • WR- Dario Walker (5-8, 165, Sr.)
  • TE- Sherron Childress (6-2, 220, So.)
  • LT- Kendall Noble (6-4, 280, RFr.)
  • LG- Jamien Banks (6-4, 280, Sr.)
  • C- Andy Ramer (6-4, 283, Sr.)
  • RG- Markeece Preston (6-3, 320, So.)
  • RT- Calton Ford (6-4, 275, So.)
  • PK- Justin Castellat (6-1, 170, Jr.)

Spartans to watch for on the offense:

  • Dennis Brown is a Connecticut transfer. Started two games for the Huskies and is a dual-threat weapon. Kentucky has had a hard time in the past containing dual-threat quarterbacks. That is the past, and UK's defense showed last week that this is a different team.
  • Deangelo Branche was forced to sit out last year due to academic reasons. Branche is a speedster who averaged 5.7 yards a carry in 2006 and can be a threat every time he touches the ball.
  • Jamar Johnson is difficult match for opponents because of his 6-foot-4 frame. Can outjump smaller defensive backs. Caught 42 passes for 565 yards and six touchdowns last year.

Norfolk State Defense Depth Chart

  • DT- Dennis Marsh (6-5, 300, Sr.)
  • NG- Ray Jennings (6-0, 305, Jr.)
  • DT- A.J. Harris (6-0, 250, Sr.)
  • OLB- Donte' Hodge (6-3, 219, Sr.)
  • ILB- Michael Alphonse (6-0, 230, Jr.)
  • ILB- Shawn Childress (6-2, 240, Jr.)
  • OLB- Jason Dent (6-2, 235, Sr.)
  • CB- Dustin Johnson (5-10, 180, Sr.)
  • CB- Jamie Short (6-1, 180, Jr.)
  • FS- Terrell Whitehead (6-2, 200, Jr.)
  • SS- Don Carey (6-1, 180, Sr.)
  • P- Billy Rudd (5-9 165, RFr.)

Spartans to watch for on the defense:

  • Michael Alphonse has a huge role to fill because of a injury to Marcellus Jackson in the spring.
  • Terrell Whitehead had six interceptions a year ago and ranked fourth on the team a year ago in tackles.

A key to the Cats' win will be shutting down the Spartans' offense early. The Cats are not expected to lose, but anything can happen.

The running game must improve. The backs must hit the holes hard and often. That will allow the passing game to open up. If the backs can't hit the holes, the Spartans will put six to eight guys in the box to stop the run. That will put pressure on Mike Hartline to make plays.

The wide receivers must block downfield on the run, get open and catch the ball.

The defense has to show that this is the year that no quarterback can run wild on them. They have shown a huge improvement in the passing game, and this is the test to show if they are ready for stopping a running quarterback.

My guess is Kentucky wins, 38-7.