Kentucky-South Carolina: Wildcats Look to Get Back on Track Against Gamecocks

Nathan TowlesCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2008

The University of Kentucky comes back home for a crucial two-game home stand where South Carolina will visit this Saturday and Arkansas next Saturday.

If Kentucky wins these next two games, the Wildcats will be 6-1 (2-1) and bowl bound for the third straight year.

If they end up losing one or both, then it will be ever so hard to pick up those lone two remaining victories against teams like Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee.

No need to look ahead of schedule—South Carolina is first.

The University of South Carolina offense depth chart:

  • WR: Freddie Brown (6'3", 208, Jr.)
  • WR: Moe Brown (6'0", 184, Jr.)
  • LT: Jarriel King (6'7", 285, So.)
  • LG: Jamon Meredith (6'5", 297, Sr.)
  • C: Garrett Anderson (6'4", 310, Jr.)
  • RG: Terrence Campbell (6'3", 277, So.)
  • RT: Justin Sorensen (6'7", 316, Sr.)
  • TE: Jared Cook (6'5", 240, Jr.)
  • QB: Chris Smelley (6'2", 211, So.)
  • FB: Patrick DiMarco (6'1", 238, So.)
  • TB: Brain Maddox (5'10", 224, So.)

University of South Carolina defense depth chart:

  • DE: Clifton Geathers (6'7", 284, So.)
  • DT: Nathan Pepper (6'1", 287, Jr.)
  • DT: Ladi Ajiboye (6'1", 298, So.)
  • DE: Cliff Matthews (6'4" 259, So.)
  • WLB: Eric Norwood (6'1", 253, Jr.)
  • MLB: Jasper Brinkley (6'2", 269, Sr.)
  • SPUR: Darian Stewart (5'11", 219, Jr.)
  • CB: Toney Woodson (5'11", 200, Sr.)
  • FS: Chris Culliver (6'0", 199, So.)
  • SS: Emanuel Cook (5'10", 203, Jr.)
  • CB: Captain Munnerlyn (5'9", 185, Jr.)

University of South Carolina Special Teams:

  • PK: Ryan Succop (6'3", 221, Sr.)
  • P: Spencer Lanning (5'11", 182, So.)
  • HOL: Stephen Flint (6'2", 197, RFr.)
  • SNAP: Charles Turner (6'4", 225, So.)
  • KR: Chris Culliver (6'0", 199, So.)
  • PR: Captain Munnerlyn (5'9", 185, Jr.)

USC has a lot of young talent to go with their experienced talent. Look for Steve Spurrier to mix up his offense and keep the Cats defense off balanced.

Gamecocks to watch

  • Chris Smelley has emerged as the starting quarterback for now. He is a better passer than the other option in Stephen Garcia. If Smelly cannot do anything against UK, then look for Coach Spurrier to put Garcia in.
  • Jared Cook has helped out the quarterback, no matter who he may be. Cook has stepped up due to Kenny McKinley being out with an injury.
  • Captain Munnerlyn has been one of two thorns in Kentucky's side the past two years. Munnerlyn is a very dangerous playmaker and can guard any wide receiver in the nation.
  • Ryan Succop is one of the best kickers in the SEC. He can just about hit a field goal from anywhere when given the shot.
  • Eric Norwood, the other thorn, can also slide into the defensive end slot and rush from there. He killed the Cats last year, taking two fumbles back for touchdowns.

The Cats have got to get their running game on track. That is going to be very hard against USC because they are at the top of stopping both the running and throwing games in the SEC.

Kentucky has to make sure that quarterback Mike Hartline has time to throw and not force anything. If any mistakes are made, the USC defense will make Kentucky pay dearly.

Like last week, the Kentucky defense has to put pressure on USC. Make the running backs and quarterback make plays. If that happens, UK might be able to get some takeaways.

Finally, UK needs to end the curse of 0-for-infinity against Steve Spurrier. The Cats did not beat him when he was at Florida, which is understandable, but it's not understandable at USC.

The last few games have been lost because of mistakes. Correct the mistakes and Kentucky will surely win.

Coach Rich Brooks has some help this week as he will get back Micah Johnson on the defense and Randall Cobb on offense.

If Kentucky is ready, and my guess is they are, the game will be close with both of the good defenses. The losing streak ends finally to the tone of 20-10 UK.


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